The formation of clathrin-coated vesicles is essential for intracellular membrane trafficking between subcellular compartments and is triggered by the ARF family of small GTPases. We previously identified SMAP1 as an ARF6 GTPase-activating protein that functions in clathrin-dependent endocytosis. Because abnormalities in clathrin-dependent trafficking are often associated with oncogenesis, we targeted Smap1 in mice to examine its physiological and pathological significance. Smap1-deficent mice exhibited healthy growth, but their erythroblasts showed enhanced transferrin endocytosis. In mast cells cultured in SCF, Smap1 deficiency did not affect the internalization of c-KIT but impaired the sorting of internalized c-KIT from multivesicular bodies to lysosomes, resulting in intracellular accumulation of undegraded c-KIT that was accompanied by enhanced activation of ERK and increased cell growth. Interestingly, approximately 50% of aged Smap1-deficient mice developed anemia associated with morphologically dysplastic cells of erythroid-myeloid lineage, which are hematological abnormalities similar to myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in humans. Furthermore, some Smap1-deficient mice developed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) of various subtypes. Collectively, to our knowledge these results provide the first evidence in a mouse model that the deregulation of clathrin-dependent membrane trafficking may be involved in the development of MDS and subsequent AML.
Shunsuke Kon ... Takuro Nakamura, Masanobu Satake
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