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, 90 (10), 4495-9

Truncated Erythropoietin Receptor Causes Dominantly Inherited Benign Human Erythrocytosis

Case Reports

Truncated Erythropoietin Receptor Causes Dominantly Inherited Benign Human Erythrocytosis

A de la Chapelle et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A.


Erythropoietin regulates the proliferation and differentiation of erythroid precursor cells. Its effect is mediated by the erythropoietin receptor (EPOR), a member of a large family of cytokine receptors. The EPOR gene has recently been cloned, sequenced, and characterized. As shown experimentally, its intracellular C-terminal part contains a domain exerting negative control on erythropoiesis. Here we describe a G to A transition in nucleotide 6002 of the EPOR gene that converts a TGG codon for tryptophan into a TAG stop codon, predicting the truncation of the 70 C-terminal amino acids of the EPOR molecule. The mutation occurs in heterozygous form in the germ-line DNA of members of a large kindred in which primary erythrocytosis is segregating as a mild autosomal dominant trait. The mutation cosegregates with the disease phenotype in all 29 affected family members studied; it occurs in no unaffected family members or unrelated controls. This appears to be an example of a human condition caused by an EPOR mutation. Striking similarities exist between the human phenotype described here and phenotypes of cell lines expressing similarly truncated EPOR molecules produced experimentally. By analogy with these in vitro studies, one can hypothesize that the truncated EPOR molecules are activated by suppression of phosphorylation leading to loss of the down-modulation exerted by intact EPOR molecules. Experimental modifications of the EPOR gene may eventually have therapeutic applications.

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