Duplication of PLAU in QPD disrupts genome architecture, rewires enhancer-gene interactions, resulting in cell type-specific overexpression.
Quebec Platelet Disorder (QPD) is an autosomal dominant bleeding disorder with a unique, platelet-dependent gain-of-function defect in fibrinolysis, without systemic fibrinolysis. The hallmark feature of QPD is a >100-fold overexpression of PLAU specifically in megakaryocytes. This overexpression leads to >100-fold increased platelet stores of urokinase plasminogen activator (PLAU/uPA), subsequent plasmin-mediated degradation of diverse a-granule proteins, and platelet-dependent, accelerated fibrinolysis. The causative mutation is a 78kb tandem duplication of PLAU. How this duplication causes megakaryocyte-specific PLAU overexpression is unknown. To investigate the mechanism that causes QPD, we used epigenomic profiling, comparative genomics, and chromatin conformation capture approaches to study PLAU regulation in cultured megakaryocytes from QPD participants and unaffected controls. We show that the QPD duplication leads to ectopic interactions between PLAU and a conserved megakaryocyte enhancer found within the same topologically associating domain (TAD). Our results support a unique disease mechanism whereby the reorganization of subTAD genome architecture results in a dramatic, cell-type specific blood disorder phenotype.