Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How red blood cells get so big -- and the bad things that happen when they don't

Date:
March 1, 2012
Source:
Yale University
Summary:
Researchers have discovered how megakaryocytes -- giant blood cells that produce wound-healing platelets -- manage to grow 10 to 15 times larger than other blood cells. The findings also hint at how a malfunction in this process may cause a form of leukemia.

Yale researchers have discovered how megakaryocytes -- giant blood cells that produce wound-healing platelets -- manage to grow 10 to 15 times larger than other blood cells.

Related Articles


The findings, to be published March 13 in the journal Developmental Cell, also hint at how a malfunction in this process may cause a form of leukemia.

"A failure of these cells to grow might be an initial trigger for megakaryoblastic leukemias," said Diane Krause, senior author of the paper, who is a researcher for the Yale Cancer Center; professor of laboratory medicine, cell biology, and pathology; and associate director of the Yale Stem Cell Center.

Megakaryocytes grow so large because the DNA within the cell duplicates many times -- but without the cell undergoing cell division: a process called endomitosis. A megakaryoblastic can shelter more than 120 sets of nuclear DNA before it eventually becomes the biological equivalent of a supernova, undergoing profound changes to break apart into thousands of platelets needed for normal blood clotting.

The Yale team led by postdoctoral associate Yuan Gao found that two proteins called guanine exchange factors (GEF-H1) put the brakes on endomitosis. They found that without GEF-H1, nuclear DNA couldn't go from two internal nuclei to four. Additional divisions of nuclear DNA within the cell could not take place unless there was decreased expression of a second factor, ECT2.

The researchers were intrigued by the results because a gene implicated in malignant leukemias, MKL1, also seems to be necessary to promote normal megakaryocyte maturation. The Krause lab is now studying whether mutant forms of MKL1 may keep levels of GEF-H1 high, thereby making it impossible for megakaryocytes to undergo endomitosis and setting the stage for development of cancer.

"These findings reveal another important step toward the formation of functional platelets, which are necessary for normal blood clotting," Krause said. "But they also provide a clue regarding what may go awry to transform normal megakaryocytes into malignant leukemia cells."

Other Yale authors of the paper are: Elenoe Smith, Ee-chun Cheng, Siying Zou, Sharon Lin, Lin Wang, and Stephanie Halene.

The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Yale University. The original article was written by Bill Hathaway. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yuan Gao, Elenoe Smith, Elmer Ker, Phil Campbell, Ee-chun Cheng, Siying Zou, Sharon Lin, Lin Wang, Stephanie Halene, Diane S. Krause. Role of RhoA-Specific Guanine Exchange Factors in Regulation of Endomitosis in Megakaryocytes. Developmental Cell, 01 March 2012 DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2011.12.019

Cite This Page:

Yale University. "How red blood cells get so big -- and the bad things that happen when they don't." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120301143436.htm>.
Yale University. (2012, March 1). How red blood cells get so big -- and the bad things that happen when they don't. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120301143436.htm
Yale University. "How red blood cells get so big -- and the bad things that happen when they don't." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120301143436.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Dads-To-Be Also Experience Hormone Changes During Pregnancy

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) A study from University of Michigan researchers found that expectant fathers see a decrease in testosterone as the baby's birth draws near. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins