The PIG-A mutation and absence of glycosylphosphatidylinositol-linked proteins do not confer resistance to apoptosis in paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria.
Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) is a clonal stem cell disorder characterized by complement-mediated hemolysis and deficient hematopoiesis. The development of PNH involves an acquired mutation in the X-linked PIG-A gene, which leads to incomplete bioassembly of glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI) anchors and absent or reduced surface expression of GPI-linked proteins. The origin and mechanisms by which the PNH clone becomes dominant are not well understood, but recently resistance to apoptosis has been postulated. To test the hypothesis that the PIG-A mutation and absence of GPI-linked surface proteins directly confer resistance to apoptosis, we isolated peripheral granulocytes from 26 patients with PNH and 20 normal controls and measured apoptosis induced by serum starvation. Granulocytes from patients with PNH were relatively resistant to apoptosis (38.8% +/- 14.1%) as compared with granulocytes from controls (55.0% +/- 12.0%, P < .001). However, this resistance to apoptosis was not related to the dominance of the PNH clone because patients with a low percentage of GPI-deficient granulocytes had a similar rate of apoptosis as those with a high percentage of GPI-deficient granulocytes. Similarly, the resistance to granulocyte apoptosis was not influenced by the degree of neutropenia or a prior history of aplastic anemia. To investigate formally the importance of GPI-linked surface proteins in apoptosis, we introduced the PIG-A cDNA sequence into the JY5 GPI-negative B-lymphoblastoid cell line using two different methods: (1) stable transfection of a plasmid containing PIG-A, and (2) stable transduction of a retroviral vector containing PIG-A. We then measured rates of apoptosis induced either by Fas antibody, serum starvation, or gamma-irradiation. With each stimulus, apoptosis of JY5 with stable surface expression of GPI-linked proteins was not statistically different from the parent JY5 cell line or the JY25 (GPI-positive) cell line. Our data confirm that granulocytes from patients with PNH have a relative resistance to apoptosis as compared with normal granulocytes. However, this resistance does not vary with the level of expression of GPI-linked proteins, and stable introduction of PIG-A cDNA with correction of GPI-linked surface expression does not change the rate of apoptosis. Taken together, our data do not support the hypothesis that the PIG-A mutation and absence of GPI-linked surface proteins directly confer resistance to apoptosis in PNH. We conclude that the resistance to apoptosis in PNH is not related to the PIG-A mutation, indicating that other factors must be important in the origin of this phenomenon and the clonal dominance observed in PNH.
Ware, RE; Nishimura, J; Moody, MA; Smith, C; Rosse, WF; Howard, TA
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