ASXL1 plays an important role in erythropoiesis
Janus Kinase 2
Protein Phosphatase 2
ASXL1 mutations are found in a spectrum of myeloid malignancies with poor prognosis. Recently, we reported that Asxl1(+/-) mice develop myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) or MDS and myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) overlapping diseases (MDS/MPN). Although defective erythroid maturation and anemia are associated with the prognosis of patients with MDS or MDS/MPN, the role of ASXL1 in erythropoiesis remains unclear. Here, we showed that chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) patients with ASXL1 mutations exhibited more severe anemia with a significantly increased proportion of bone marrow (BM) early stage erythroblasts and reduced enucleated erythrocytes compared to CMML patients with WT ASXL1. Knockdown of ASXL1 in cord blood CD34(+) cells reduced erythropoiesis and impaired erythrocyte enucleation. Consistently, the BM and spleens of VavCre(+);Asxl1(f/f) (Asxl1(∆/∆)) mice had less numbers of erythroid progenitors than Asxl1(f/f) controls. Asxl1(∆/∆) mice also had an increased percentage of erythroblasts and a reduced erythrocyte enucleation in their BM compared to littermate controls. Furthermore, Asxl1(∆/∆) erythroblasts revealed altered expression of genes involved in erythroid development and homeostasis, which was associated with lower levels of H3K27me3 and H3K4me3. Our study unveils a key role for ASXL1 in erythropoiesis and indicates that ASXL1 loss hinders erythroid development/maturation, which could be of prognostic value for MDS/MPN patients.