Proposed megakaryocytic regulon of p53: The genes engaged to control cell cycle and apoptosis during megakaryocytic differentiation

Pani A. Apostolidis, Stephan Lindsey, William M. Miller, Eleftherios T. Papoutsakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


During endomitosis, mega-karyocytes undergo several rounds of DNA synthesis without division leading to polyploidization. In primary megakaryocytes and in the megakaryocytic cell line CHRF, loss or knock-down of p53 enhances cell cycling and inhibits apoptosis, leading to increased polyploidiza-tion. To support the hypothesis that p53 suppresses megakaryocytic polyploidization, we show that stable expression of wild-type p53 in K562 cells (a p53-null cell line) attenuates the cells' ability to undergo polyploidization during megakaryocytic differentiation due to diminished DNA synthesis and greater apoptosis. This suggested that p53's effects during megakaryopoiesis are mediated through cell cycle- and apoptosis-related target genes, possibly by arresting DNA synthesis and promoting apoptosis. To identify candidate genes through which p53 mediates these effects, gene expression was compared between p53 knock-down (p53-KD) and control CHRF cells induced to undergo terminal megakaryocytic differentiation using microarray analysis. Among substantially downregulated p53 targets in p53-KD megakaryocytes were cell cycle regulators CDKN1A (p21) and PLK2, proapoptotic FAS, TNFRSF10B, CASP8, NOTCH1, TP53INP1, TP53I3, DRAM1, ZMAT3 and PHLDA3, DNA-damage-related RRM2B and SESN1, and actin component ACTA2, while antiapoptotic CKS1B, BCL2, GTSE1, and p53 family member TP63 were upregulated in p53-KD cells. Additionally, a number of cell cycle-related, proapop-totic, and cytoskeleton-related genes with known functions in mega-karyocytes but not known to carry p53-responsive elements were differentially expressed between p53-KD and control CHRF cells. Our data support a model whereby p53 expression during megakaryo-poiesis serves to control polyploidization and the transition from endomitosis to apoptosis by impeding cell cycling and promoting apoptosis. Furthermore, we identify a putative p53 regulon that is proposed to orchestrate these effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)638-650
Number of pages13
JournalPhysiological genomics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Megakaryocytic
  • Microarray
  • Polyploidization
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Physiology


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