Thrombopoietin and its receptor (MPL) are important regulators of megakaryopoiesis. We have identified an activating mutation of MPL using a combination of a retrovirus-mediated gene transfer and polymerase chain reaction-driven random mutagenesis. This point mutation causes a single amino acid substitution from Ser498 to Asn498 in the transmembrane region and abrogates factor-dependency of all interleukin-3-dependent cell lines tested. Murine interleukin-3- dependent Ba/F3 cells expressing the mutated but not the normal form of MPL were tumorigenic when transduced into syngeneic mice. Analysis of intracellular signaling pathways indicated that the mutant MPL protein constitutively activated two distinct signaling pathways, SHC-Raf-MAPK and JAK2-STAT3/STAT5.

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