Abstract 2382

The erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) is a type 1 cytokine receptor and key effector of Epo signaling. Maturation and shuttling of receptor to the plasma membrane is dependent on its association with Janus Kinase 2 (JAK2). Upon ligand binding, EpoR homo-dimerizes to activate JAK2, which in turn phosphorylates tyrosine residues on the receptor cytoplasmic tail permitting recruitment and phosphorylation of the signal transduction and activator of transcription (STAT)-5. Lenalidomide (LEN), a second generation immunomodulatory drug (IMiD), promotes the expansion of primitive erythroid progenitors in vitro and induces the expression of genes involved in erythroid lineage commitment (JCI 2008;118(1):248-58; PLoS medicine 2008;5(2):e35). In del(5q) clones, LEN is cytotoxic by inhibiting the haplodeficient serine/threonine phosphatase PP2A (Wei S, et. al PNAS 2009). To investigate the mechanism by which LEN promotes erythropoiesis, we investigated its action on EpoR cellular dynamics. Using the human erythroleukemia cell line, UT-7, treatment with LEN elicited concentration dependent upregulation of EpoR in whole cell lysates demonstrable by immunoblot (IB) analysis at concentrations ranging from 0.1–10μM, reaching a 2-fold increase vs. controls. Treatment with pomalidomide, an IMiD with superior erythropoietic activity, displayed greater potency, increasing cellular EpoR at concentrations as low as 1nM; whereas thalidomide was ineffective. Upregulation of EpoR was apparent as early as 1 hour (h) after LEN exposure, reaching maximal receptor induction at 8h. Isolation of membrane and cystosolic fractions followed by IB showed that EpoR was upregulated predominantly in the membrane fraction, increasing 4.3-fold. IB of detergent insoluble membrane raft (MR) fractions showed that LEN promoted lipid raft assembly and F-actin polymerization accompanied by translocation of EpoR into MR microdomains with JAK2, STAT-5 and Lyn signal intermediates. Pretreatment with the Rho-GTPase inhibitor, Y27632, suppressed LEN effects on MR and F-actin. Immunoprecipitation (IP) of EpoR showed that JAK2 co-precipitated with the receptor in LEN treated cells, suggesting drug induced release of pre-assembled EpoR/JAK2 complexes from golgi and endosomal compartments. Q-PCR showed no changes in EpoR gene mRNA expression up to 24 hours after drug exposure, supporting post translational drug effects. To confirm that the observed changes in EpoR dynamics in UT-7 cells extends to normal erythroid progenitors, we assessed EpoR expression and MR assembly (cholera toxin B labeled GM1) by fluorescence microscopy in CD71+ erythroid precursors from three normal bone marrow donors. Expression of EpoR increased a mean of 17% (range:0-68%) after 1h LEN [1μM] exposure (p=0.003), accompanied by an increase in MR aggregates. Because the LEN inhibitable target PP2A is a key regulator of Rho-GTPase guided receptor trafficking and AP-1 directed formation of MR targeted clathrin-coated vesicles, we examined its effects on EpoR induction. Pretreatment of UT-7 cells with the PP2A activator FTY720 antagonized the upregulation of EpoR by LEN, whereas treatment with the PP2A inhibitor cantharadin [0.5μM] induced EpoR protein expression. Inhibition of dynamin activity, a PP2A sensitive GTPase involved in type 1 receptor recycling from membrane to endosomes, recapitulated the effects of cantharadin, inducing EpoR expression. In summary, these findings indicate that LEN modulates EpoR equilibrium, mediated in part through its inhibitory effect on PP2A. LEN induces rapid translocation of mature EpoR/JAK2 complexes to the plasma membrane while promoting the assembly of MRs with signaling competent receptor platforms to optimize cytokine signal integrity.


List:Celgene: Consultancy.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.