Key Points

  • Kiaa0157 deficiency expands the HSC pool and increases reconstitution potential.

  • BRISC deficiency increases JAK2 K63-ubiquitination, enhances its association with TPO receptor at the cell membrane, and promotes signaling.


Hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) homeostasis is controlled by cytokine receptor–mediated Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) signaling. We previously found that JAK2 is promptly ubiquitinated upon cytokine stimulation. Whether a competing JAK2 deubiquitination activity exists is unknown. LNK is an essential adaptor protein that constrains HSC expansion through dampening thrombopoietin (TPO)–induced JAK2 signaling. We show here that a LNK-associated lysine-63 (K63)–deubiquitinating enzyme complex, Brcc36 isopeptidase complex (BRISC), attenuates HSC expansion through control of JAK2 signaling. We pinpoint a direct interaction between the LNK SH2 domain and a phosphorylated tyrosine residue in KIAA0157 (Abraxas2), a unique and defining BRISC component. Kiaa0157 deficiency in mice led to an expansion of phenotypic and functional HSCs. Endogenous JAK2 and phospho-JAK2 were rapidly K63-ubiquitinated upon TPO stimulation, and this action was augmented in cells depleted of the BRISC core components KIAA0157, MERIT40, or BRCC36. This increase in JAK2 ubiquitination after BRISC knockdown was associated with increased TPO-mediated JAK2 activation and protein levels, and increased MPL receptor presence at the cell surface. In addition, BRISC depletion promoted membrane proximal association between the MPL receptor and pJAK2/JAK2, thus enhancing activated JAK2/MPL at the cell membrane. These findings define a novel pathway by which K63-ubiquitination promotes JAK2 stability and activation in a proteasome-independent manner. Moreover, mutations in BRCC36 are found in clonal hematopoiesis in humans. This research may shed light on the mechanistic understanding of a potential role of BRCC36 in human HSCs.

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