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Blood. 2011 Aug 11;118(6):1610-21. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-02-335042. Epub 2011 Jun 8.

Increased basal intracellular signaling patterns do not correlate with JAK2 genotype in human myeloproliferative neoplasms.

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Department of Haematology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, Cambridge, UK.


Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are associated with recurrent activating mutations of signaling proteins such as Janus kinase 2 (JAK2). However, the actual downstream signaling events and how these alter myeloid homeostasis are poorly understood. We developed an assay to measure basal levels of phosphorylated signaling intermediates by flow cytometry during myeloid differentiation in MPN patients. Our study provides the first systematic demonstration of specific signaling events and their comparison with disease phenotype and JAK2 mutation status. We demonstrate increased basal signaling in MPN patients, which occurs in both early and later stages of myeloid differentiation. In addition, the pattern of signaling is not correlated with JAK2 mutation status and signaling intensity is poorly correlated with mutant JAK2 allele burden. In contrast, signaling differences are detected between different MPN disease phenotypes. Finally, we demonstrate that signaling can be inhibited by a JAK2-selective small molecule, but that this inhibition is not JAK2 V617F specific, because MPN patients with mutant JAK2, wild-type JAK2, and control patients were inhibited to a similar degree. Our data suggest that, in addition to JAK2 mutations, other factors contribute significantly to the MPN phenotype, results that are relevant to both the pathogenesis and therapy of MPN.

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