Mnk1 regulates mRNA translational events in megakaryocytes and platelets
Mnk1 contributes to megakaryopoiesis and platelet production, cPLA2 activity, and thrombosis.
The MAPK-interacting kinase (Mnk) family includes Mnk1 and Mnk2, which are phosphorylated and activated in response to extracellular stimuli. Mnk1 contributes to cellular responses by regulating mRNA translation and mRNA translation influences platelet production and function. However, the role of Mnk1 in megakaryocytes and platelets has not previously been studied. The present study investigated Mnk1 in megakaryocytes and platelets using both pharmacological and genetic approaches. We demonstrate that Mnk1, but not Mnk2, is expressed and active in human and murine megakaryocytes and platelets. Stimulating human and murine megakaryocytes and platelets induced Mnk1 activation and phosphorylation of eIF4E, a downstream target of activated Mnk1 that triggers mRNA translation. Mnk1 inhibition or deletion significantly diminished protein synthesis in megakaryocytes, as measured by polysome profiling and [35S]-methionine incorporation assays. Depletion of Mnk1 also reduced megakaryocyte ploidy and proplatelet forming megakaryocytes in vitro, and resulted in thrombocytopenia. However, Mnk1 deletion did not affect the half-life of circulating platelets. Platelets from Mnk1 knockout mice exhibited reduced platelet aggregation, alpha granule secretion, and integrin aIIbb3 activation. Ribosomal footprint sequencing indicated that Mnk1 regulates the translation of Pla2g4a mRNA (which encodes cPLA2) in megakaryocytes. Consistent with this, Mnk1 ablation reduced cPLA2 activity and thromboxane generation in platelets and megakaryocytes. In vivo, Mnk1 ablation in platelets protected against thromboembolism. These results provide previously unrecognized evidence that Mnk1 regulates mRNA translation and cellular activation in platelets and megakaryocytes, endomitosis and thrombopoiesis, and thrombosis.