Calreticulin mutation-specific immunostaining in myeloproliferative neoplasms: pathogenetic insight and diagnostic value

Leukemia. 2014 Sep;28(9):1811-8. doi: 10.1038/leu.2014.100. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


Mutations in the gene calreticulin (CALR) occur in the majority of JAK2- and MPL-unmutated patients with essential thrombocythemia (ET) and primary myelofibrosis (PMF); identifying CALR mutations contributes to the diagnostic pathway of ET and PMF. CALR mutations are heterogeneous spanning over the exon 9, but all result in a novel common protein C terminus. We developed a polyclonal antibody against a 17-amino-acid peptide derived from mutated calreticulin that was used for immunostaining of bone marrow biopsies. We show that this antibody specifically recognized patients harboring different types of CALR mutation with no staining in healthy controls and JAK2- or MPL-mutated ET and PMF. The labeling was mostly localized in megakaryocytes, whereas myeloid and erythroid cells showed faint staining, suggesting a preferential expression of calreticulin in megakaryocytes. Megakaryocytic-restricted expression of calreticulin was also demonstrated using an antibody against wild-type calreticulin and by measuring the levels of calreticulin RNA by gene expression analysis. Immunostaining using an antibody specific for mutated calreticulin may become a rapid, simple and cost-effective method for identifying CALR-mutated patients complementing molecular analysis; furthermore, the labeling pattern supports the preferential expansion of megakaryocytic cell lineage as a result of CALR mutation in an immature hematopoietic stem cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calreticulin / analysis
  • Calreticulin / genetics*
  • Calreticulin / immunology
  • Cell Lineage
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Janus Kinase 2 / genetics
  • Mutation*
  • Myeloproliferative Disorders / diagnosis
  • Myeloproliferative Disorders / etiology
  • Myeloproliferative Disorders / genetics*
  • Receptors, Thrombopoietin / genetics


  • Calreticulin
  • Receptors, Thrombopoietin
  • MPL protein, human
  • JAK2 protein, human
  • Janus Kinase 2