PCTP (Phosphatidylcholine Transfer Protein) is Regulated By RUNX1 in Platelets/Megakaryocytes and is Associated with Adverse Cardiovascular Events
Transcription factor (TF) mutations are increasingly recognized to play a major role in inherited platelet abnormalities. RUNX1, a major hematopoietic TF, acts in a combinatorial manner with other TFs to regulate numerous megakaryocyte (MK)/platelet genes. Human RUNX1 haplodeficiency is associated with thrombocytopenia, platelet function defects, and increased leukemia risk. We have described a patient with multiple abnormalities in platelet aggregation and secretion responses with a heterozygous RUNX1 nonsense mutation (Sun et al Blood 2004; 103; 948-54). Transcript expression profiling of patient platelets (Sun et al J Thromb Haemost 2007; 5:146-54)showed several genes were significantly downregulated, including myosin light chain (MYL9), platelet factor 4 (PF4), protein kinase C-θ (PRCKQ), and 12-lipoxygenase (ALOX12); these have been shown by us to be regulated by RUNX1. The profiling data also showed 10-fold downregulation of phosphatidylcholine transfer protein (PCTP) gene (fold change ratio 0.09, p=0.02) in the patient compared with normal controls. PCTP regulates the intermembrane transfer of phosphatidylcholine (PC), a major plasma membrane phospholipid. Platelet PCTP expression is associated with increased platelet aggregation and calcium mobilization upon activation of protease-activated receptor 4 (PAR4) thrombin receptors in black subjects as compared to white subjects (Edelstein et al Nat Med 2013; 19:1609-16). Pharmacologic inhibition of PCTP decreased platelet aggregation in response to PAR4 agonist and siRNA knockdown of PCTP in megakaryocytic cells blunted calcium mobilization induced by PAR4 (Edelstein et al Nat Med 2013; 19:1609-16). Little is known regarding the regulation of PCTP in MKs/platelets and its role in cardiovascular events.
Based on the decreased platelet PCTP expression in our patient, we pursued the hypothesis that PCTP is regulated by RUNX1 and contributes to cardiovascular events. Corrected total cellular immunofluorescence with anti-PCTP antibody showed significantly reduced platelet PCTP expression by 58% in our patient compared to a normal control. In silico analysis revealed 5 RUNX1 consensus binding sites up to ~ 1 kb of the PCTP 5' upstream region from ATG. To assess for interaction of RUNX1 with the PCTP promoter, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay with anti-RUNX1 antibody was performed using human erythroid leukemia (HEL) cells treated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) for 48 hours to induce megakaryocytic transformation. The ChIP studies showed RUNX1 binding to PCTP chromatin in the regions encompassing RUNX1 binding site 1 (-345/-340), site 3 (-632/-627), and encompassing sites 4 and 5 (-974/-969, -997/-992). Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) using PMA-treated HEL cell nuclear extracts showed RUNX1 binding to DNA probes (28-37 bp) containing site 1 (-345/-340) and both sites 4 and 5 (-974/-969, -997/-992). PCTP mRNA and protein expression were increased with RUNX1 overexpression and reduced with RUNX1 knockdown in HEL cells, indicating that PCTP is regulated by RUNX1. To assess the clinical relevance of the findings, the relationship between RUNX1 and PCTP in peripheral blood RNA, and PCTP and death or myocardial infarction (MI) events were assessed in two separate patient cohorts (n = 587 total patients) with cardiovascular disease. RUNX1 is transcribed from two alternate promoters (P1 and P2) resulting in different isoforms. In both patient cohorts, there was strong correlation between RUNX1 and PCTP expression in a promoter specific manner. RUNX1 P1 probe sets were strongly and inversely correlated with PCTP expression (p < 0.0001), while the P2 probe sets were not. PCTP expression was associated with death or MI in both patient cohorts (odds ratio 2.1, 95% CI [1.61-2.95], P-value < 0.0001) independent of age, sex, race, platelet count, and cardiovascular risk factors.
Conclusions: Our results provide evidence that PCTP is regulated by RUNX1 (potentially in a promoter specific manner), and that PCTP expression is associated with death or myocardial infarction in patients with cardiovascular disease. RUNX1 regulation of PCTP may play a role in the pathogenesis of platelet-mediated cardiovascular events.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Songdej, N; Mao, G; Voora, D; Goldfinger, LE; Del Carpio-Cano, F; Myers, R; Rao, AK
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