Mutations in the transcription factor IKZF5 cause autosomal dominant thrombocytopenia and a paucity of α granules.
Although IKZF5 is expressed across hematopoietic lineages, misregulation in IKZF5 cases is restricted to the megakaryocytic lineage.
To identify novel causes of hereditary thrombocytopenia, we performed a genetic association analysis of whole-genome sequencing data from 13 037 individuals enrolled in the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) BioResource, including 233 cases with isolated thrombocytopenia. We found an association between rare variants in the transcription factor-encoding gene IKZF5 and thrombocytopenia. We report 5 causal missense variants in or near IKZF5 zinc fingers, of which 2 occurred de novo and 3 co-segregated in 3 pedigrees. A canonical DNA-zinc finger binding model predicts that 3 of the variants alter DNA recognition. Expression studies showed that chromatin binding was disrupted in mutant compared with wild-type IKZF5, and electron microscopy revealed a reduced quantity of α granules in normally sized platelets. Proplatelet formation was reduced in megakaryocytes from 7 cases relative to 6 controls. Comparison of RNA-sequencing data from platelets, monocytes, neutrophils, and CD4+ T cells from 3 cases and 14 healthy controls showed 1194 differentially expressed genes in platelets but only 4 differentially expressed genes in each of the other blood cell types. In conclusion, IKZF5 is a novel transcriptional regulator of megakaryopoiesis and the eighth transcription factor associated with dominant thrombocytopenia in humans.