In normal Mks, calreticulin regulates the activation of SOCE by interacting with ERp57 and STIM1.
In CALR-mutated MPNs, defective interaction between mutant calreticulin and SOCE proteins promotes Mk proliferation.
Approximately one-fourth of patients with essential thrombocythemia or primary myelofibrosis carry a somatic mutation of the calreticulin gene (CALR), the gene encoding for calreticulin. A 52-bp deletion (type I mutation) and a 5-bp insertion (type II mutation) are the most frequent genetic lesions. The mechanism(s) by which a CALR mutation leads to a myeloproliferative phenotype has been clarified only in part. We studied the interaction between calreticulin and store-operated calcium (Ca2+) entry (SOCE) machinery in megakaryocytes (Mks) from healthy individuals and from patients with CALR-mutated myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). In Mks from healthy subjects, binding of recombinant human thrombopoietin to c-Mpl induced the activation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5, AKT, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2, determining inositol triphosphate–dependent Ca2+ release from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). This resulted in the dissociation of the ER protein 57 (ERp57)-mediated complex between calreticulin and stromal interaction molecule 1 (STIM1), a protein of the SOCE machinery that leads to Ca2+ mobilization. In Mks from patients with CALR-mutated MPNs, defective interactions between mutant calreticulin, ERp57, and STIM1 activated SOCE and generated spontaneous cytosolic Ca2+ flows. In turn, this resulted in abnormal Mk proliferation that was reverted using a specific SOCE inhibitor. In summary, the abnormal SOCE regulation of Ca2+ flows in Mks contributes to the pathophysiology of CALR-mutated MPNs. In perspective, SOCE may represent a new therapeutic target to counteract Mk proliferation and its clinical consequences in MPNs.