Role of Rho-GTPases in megakaryopoiesis

Small GTPases. 2021 Sep-Nov;12(5-6):399-415. doi: 10.1080/21541248.2021.1885134. Epub 2021 Feb 11.


Megakaryocytes (MKs) are the bone marrow (BM) cells that generate blood platelets by a process that requires: i) polyploidization responsible for the increased MK size and ii) cytoplasmic organization leading to extension of long pseudopods, called proplatelets, through the endothelial barrier to allow platelet release into blood. Low level of localized RHOA activation prevents actomyosin accumulation at the cleavage furrow and participates in MK polyploidization. In the platelet production, RHOA and CDC42 play opposite, but complementary roles. RHOA inhibits both proplatelet formation and MK exit from BM, whereas CDC42 drives the development of the demarcation membranes and MK migration in BM. Moreover, the RhoA or Cdc42 MK specific knock-out in mice and the genetic alterations in their down-stream effectors in human induce a thrombocytopenia demonstrating their key roles in platelet production. A better knowledge of Rho-GTPase signalling is thus necessary to develop therapies for diseases associated with platelet production defects.Abbreviations: AKT: Protein Kinase BARHGEF2: Rho/Rac Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor 2ARP2/3: Actin related protein 2/3BM: Bone marrowCDC42: Cell division control protein 42 homologCFU-MK: Colony-forming-unit megakaryocyteCIP4: Cdc42-interacting protein 4mDIA: DiaphanousDIAPH1; Protein diaphanous homolog 1ECT2: Epithelial Cell Transforming Sequence 2FLNA: Filamin AGAP: GTPase-activating proteins or GTPase-accelerating proteinsGDI: GDP Dissociation InhibitorGEF: Guanine nucleotide exchange factorHDAC: Histone deacetylaseLIMK: LIM KinaseMAL: Megakaryoblastic leukaemiaMARCKS: Myristoylated alanine-rich C-kinase substrateMKL: Megakaryoblastic leukaemiaMLC: Myosin light chainMRTF: Myocardin Related Transcription FactorOTT: One-Twenty Two ProteinPACSIN2: Protein Kinase C And Casein Kinase Substrate In Neurons 2PAK: P21-Activated KinasePDK: Pyruvate Dehydrogenase kinasePI3K: Phosphoinositide 3-kinasePKC: Protein kinase CPTPRJ: Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type JRAC: Ras-related C3 botulinum toxin substrate 1RBM15: RNA Binding Motif Protein 15RHO: Ras homologousROCK: Rho-associated protein kinaseSCAR: Suppressor of cAMP receptorSRF: Serum response factorSRC: SarcTAZ: Transcriptional coactivator with PDZ motifTUBB1: Tubulin β1VEGF: Vascular endothelial growth factorWAS: Wiskott Aldrich syndromeWASP: Wiskott Aldrich syndrome proteinWAVE: WASP-family verprolin-homologous proteinWIP: WASP-interacting proteinYAP: Yes-associated protein.

Keywords: Megakaryopoiesis; cdc42; cytoskeleton; endomitosis; gtpases; inherited thrombocytopenia; migration; platelet production; rhoa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Platelets / enzymology
  • Blood Platelets / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / enzymology
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Megakaryocytes / enzymology
  • Megakaryocytes / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Ligue Nationale Contre le Cancer; H2020-FETOPEN-1-2016-2017-SilkFusion; GrEX.