Relieving DYRK1A repression of MKL1 confers an adult-like phenotype to human infantile megakaryocytes

Kamaleldin E. Elagib, Ashton Brock, Cara M. Clementelli, Goar Mosoyan, Lorrie L. Delehanty, Ranjit K. Sahu, Alexandra Pacheco-Benichou, Corinne Fruit, Thierry Besson, Stephan W. Morris, Koji Eto, Chintan Jobaliya, Deborah L. French, Paul Gadue, Sandeep Singh, Xinrui Shi, Fujun Qin, Robert Cornelison, Hui Li, Camelia Iancu-RubinAdam N. Goldfarb

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5 Scopus citations


Infantile (fetal and neonatal) megakaryocytes (Mks) have a distinct phenotype consisting of hyperproliferation, limited morphogenesis, and low platelet production capacity. These properties contribute to clinical problems that include thrombocytopenia in neonates, delayed platelet engraftment in recipients of cord blood stem cell transplants, and inefficient ex vivo platelet production from pluripotent stem cell–derived Mks. The infantile phenotype results from deficiency of the actin-regulated coactivator, MKL1, which programs cytoskeletal changes driving morphogenesis. As a strategy to complement this molecular defect, we screened pathways with the potential to affect MKL1 function and found that DYRK1A inhibition dramatically enhanced Mk morphogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Dyrk1 inhibitors rescued enlargement, polyploidization, and thrombopoiesis in human neonatal Mks. Mks derived from induced pluripotent stem cells responded in a similar manner. Progenitors undergoing Dyrk1 inhibition demonstrated filamentous actin assembly, MKL1 nuclear translocation, and modulation of MKL1 target genes. Loss-of-function studies confirmed MKL1 involvement in this morphogenetic pathway. Expression of Ablim2, a stabilizer of filamentous actin, increased with Dyrk1 inhibition, and Ablim2 knockdown abrogated the actin, MKL1, and morphogenetic responses to Dyrk1 inhibition. These results delineate a pharmacologically tractable morphogenetic pathway whose manipulation may alleviate clinical problems associated with the limited thrombopoietic capacity of infantile Mks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere154839
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number19
StatePublished - 3 Oct 2022


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