Background: Megakaryopoiesis allows platelet formation, which is necessary for coagulation, also playing an important role in different pathologies. However, this process remains to be fully characterized. C3G, an activator of Rap1 GTPases, is involved in platelet activation and regulates several differentiation processes.
Methods: We evaluated C3G function in megakaryopoiesis using transgenic mouse models where C3G and C3GΔCat (mutant lacking the GEF domain) transgenes are expressed exclusively in megakaryocytes and platelets. In addition, we used different clones of K562, HEL and DAMI cell lines with overexpression or silencing of C3G or GATA-1.
Results: We found that C3G participates in the differentiation of immature hematopoietic cells to megakaryocytes. Accordingly, bone marrow cells from transgenic C3G, but not those from transgenic C3GΔCat mice, showed increased expression of the differentiation markers CD41 and CD61, upon thrombopoietin treatment. Furthermore, C3G overexpression increased the number of CD41+ megakaryocytes with high DNA content. These results are supported by data obtained in the different models of megakaryocytic cell lines. In addition, it was uncovered GATA-1 as a positive regulator of C3G expression. Moreover, C3G transgenic megakaryocytes from fresh bone marrow explants showed increased migration from the osteoblastic to the vascular niche and an enhanced ability to form proplatelets. Although the transgenic expression of C3G in platelets did not alter basal platelet counts, it did increase slightly those induced by TPO injection in vivo. Moreover, platelet C3G induced adipogenesis in the bone marrow under pathological conditions.
Conclusions: All these data indicate that C3G plays a significant role in different steps of megakaryopoiesis, acting through a mechanism dependent on its GEF activity.
Keywords: C3G; Differentiation; Megakaryocyte; Megakaryopoiesis; Platelet.