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Nat Cell Biol. 2008 Jul;10(7):788-801. doi: 10.1038/ncb1741. Epub 2008 Jun 22.

A three-step pathway comprising PLZF/miR-146a/CXCR4 controls megakaryopoiesis.

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Department of Hematology, Oncology and Molecular Medicine, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161 Rome, Italy.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs or miRs) regulate diverse normal and abnormal cell functions. We have identified a regulatory pathway in normal megakaryopoiesis, involving the PLZF transcription factor, miR-146a and the SDF-1 receptor CXCR4. In leukaemic cell lines PLZF overexpression downmodulated miR-146a and upregulated CXCR4 protein, whereas PLZF knockdown induced the opposite effects. In vitro assays showed that PLZF interacts with and inhibits the miR-146a promoter, and that miR-146a targets CXCR4 mRNA, impeding its translation. In megakaryopoietic cultures of CD34(+) progenitors, PLZF was upregulated, whereas miR-146a expression decreased and CXCR4 protein increased. MiR-146a overexpression and PLZF or CXCR4 silencing impaired megakaryocytic (Mk) proliferation, differentiation and maturation, as well as Mk colony formation. Mir-146a knockdown induced the opposite effects. Rescue experiments indicated that the effects of PLZF and miR-146a are mediated by miR-146a and CXCR4, respectively. Our data indicate that megakaryopoiesis is controlled by a cascade pathway, in which PLZF suppresses miR-146a transcription and thereby activates CXCR4 translation.

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