exon-level microarray expression analysis of bone marrow cells from 6-month-old wild type mice and Vav-TRAF6 mice.

This heat map shows exon-level microarray expression analysis of bone marrow cells from 6-month-old wild type mice and Vav-TRAF6 mice.

 

Researchers here have identified a mechanism that controls blood-cell function, and several possible molecular treatments for myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). These syndromes are malignant disorders in which bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. MDS can lead to acute myeloid leukemia.

The findings were reported online Dec. 26, 2016, in Nature Immunology. A team led by cancer biologist Daniel Starczynowski, PhD, found that overexpression of the protein TRAF6 in blood cells can result in MDS. TRAF6 is an immune sensor of pathogens.

“We found that TRAF6 overexpression in murine hematopoietic stem cells results in impaired blood cell formation and bone marrow failure,” says Starczynowski, a member of the Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology.

Starczynowski and colleagues also identified therapeutic approaches that can be tested against TRAF6 and other proteins responsible for MDS.