Transcription factor 3 is dysregulated in megakaryocytes in myelofibrosis

Platelets. 2024 Dec;35(1):2304173. doi: 10.1080/09537104.2024.2304173. Epub 2024 Feb 1.


Transcription factor 3 (TCF3) is a DNA transcription factor that modulates megakaryocyte development. Although abnormal TCF3 expression has been identified in a range of hematological malignancies, to date, it has not been investigated in myelofibrosis (MF). MF is a Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) that can arise de novo or progress from essential thrombocythemia [ET] and polycythemia vera [PV] and where dysfunctional megakaryocytes have a role in driving the fibrotic progression. We aimed to examine whether TCF3 is dysregulated in megakaryocytes in MPN, and specifically in MF. We first assessed TCF3 protein expression in megakaryocytes using an immunohistochemical approach analyses and showed that TCF3 was reduced in MF compared with ET and PV. Further, the TCF3-negative megakaryocytes were primarily located near trabecular bone and had the typical "MF-like" morphology as described by the WHO. Genomic analysis of isolated megakaryocytes showed three mutations, all predicted to result in a loss of function, in patients with MF; none were seen in megakaryocytes isolated from ET or PV marrow samples. We then progressed to transcriptomic sequencing of platelets which showed loss of TCF3 in MF. These proteomic, genomic and transcriptomic analyses appear to indicate that TCF3 is downregulated in megakaryocytes in MF. This infers aberrations in megakaryopoiesis occur in this progressive phase of MPN. Further exploration of this pathway could provide insights into TCF3 and the evolution of fibrosis and potentially lead to new preventative therapeutic targets.

Keywords: Megakaryocyte; TCF3; myelofibrosis; myeloproliferative neoplasms; next-generation sequencing; platelets.

Plain language summary

What is the context? We investigated TCF3 (transcription factor 3), a gene that regulates megakaryocyte development, for genomic and proteomic changes in myelofibrosis.Myelofibrosis is the aggressive phase of a group of blood cancers called myeloproliferative neoplasms, and abnormalities in development and maturation of megakaryocytes is thought to drive the development of myelofibrosis.What is new? We report detection of three novel TCF3 mutations in megakaryocytes and decreases in TCF3 protein and gene expression in primary megakaryocytes and platelets from patients with myelofibrosis.This is the first association between loss of TCF3 in megakaryocytes from patients and myelofibrosis.What is the impact? TCF3 dysregulation may be a novel mechanism that is responsible for the development of myelofibrosis and better understanding of this pathway could identify new drug targets.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Marrow / pathology
  • Humans
  • Megakaryocytes* / metabolism
  • Polycythemia Vera / genetics
  • Polycythemia Vera / metabolism
  • Polycythemia Vera / pathology
  • Primary Myelofibrosis* / genetics
  • Primary Myelofibrosis* / pathology
  • Proteomics
  • Thrombocythemia, Essential / pathology
  • Transcription Factor 3* / metabolism


  • Transcription Factor 3
  • TCF3 protein, human