Transcriptomic analysis reveals JAK2/MPL-independent effects of calreticulin mutations in a C. elegans model
Myeloproliferative neoplasms
Caenorhabditis elegans
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Guijarro-Hernández, A. (Ana); Eder-Azanza, L.; Hurtado-Rudi, C. (Cristina); et al. "Transcriptomic analysis reveals JAK2/MPL-independent effects of calreticulin mutations in a C. elegans model". Cells. 12 (1), 2023, 186
There is growing evidence that Ph-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) are disorders in which multiple molecular mechanisms are significantly disturbed. Since their discovery, CALR driver mutations have been demonstrated to trigger pathogenic mechanisms apart from the well-documented activation of JAK2/MPL-related pathways, but the lack of experimental models harboring CALR mutations in a JAK2/MPL knockout background has hindered the research on these non-canonical mechanisms. In this study, CRISPR/Cas9 was performed to introduce homozygous patient-like calreticulin mutations in a C. elegans model that naturally lacks JAK2 and MPL orthologs. Whole-genome transcriptomic analysis of these worms was conducted, and some of the genes identified to be associated with processes involved in the pathogenesis of MPNs were further validated by qPCR. Some of the transcriptomic alterations corresponded to typically altered genes and processes in cancer and Ph-negative MPN patients that are known to be triggered by mutant calreticulin without the intervention of JAK2/MPL. However, interestingly, we have also found altered other processes described in these diseases that had not been directly attributed to calreticulin mutations without the intervention of JAK2 or MPL. Thus, these results point to a new experimental model for the study of the JAK2/MPL-independent mechanisms of mutant calreticulin that induce these biological alterations, which could be useful to study unknown non-canonical effects of the mutant protein. The comparison with a calreticulin null strain revealed that the alteration of all of these processes seems to be a consequence of a loss of function of mutant calreticulin in the worm, except for the dysregulation of Hedgehog signaling and flh-3. Further analysis of this model could help to delineate these mechanisms, and the verification of these results in mammalian models may unravel new potential therapeutic targets in MPNs. As far as we know, this is the first time that a C. elegans strain with patient-like mutations is proposed as a potential model for leukemia research.

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