Nürnberg ST, Rendon A, Smethurst PA, Paul DS, Voss K, Thon JN, Lloyd-Jones H, Sambrook JG, Tijssen MR, Italiano JE, Deloukas P, Gottgens B, Soranzo N, Ouwehand WH
We recently identified 68 genomic loci where common sequence variants are associated with platelet count and volume. Platelets are formed in the bone marrow by megakaryocytes, which are derived from hematopoietic stem cells by a process mainly controlled by transcription factors. The homeobox transcription factor MEIS1 is uniquely transcribed in megakaryocytes and not in the other lineage-committed blood cells. By chromatin immunoprecipitation we show that 5 of the 68 loci pinpoint a MEIS1 binding event within a group of 252 MK-overexpressed genes. In one such locus in DNM3, regulating platelet volume, the MEIS1 binding site falls within a region acting as an alternative promoter that is solely used in megakaryocytes, where allelic variation dictates different levels of a shorter transcript. The importance of dynamin activity to the latter stages of thrombopoiesis was confirmed by the observation that the inhibitor Dynasore reduced murine proplatelet formation in vitro.