Yadav, G.V., Chakraborty, A., Uechi, T., and Kenmochi, N. (2014) Ribosomal protein deficiency causes Tp53-independent erythropoiesis failure in zebrafish. The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology. 49:1-7.
Diamond-Blackfan anemia is an inherited genetic disease caused by mutations in ribosomal protein genes. The disease is characterized by bone marrow failure, congenital anomalies, and a severe erythroid defect. The activation of the TP53 pathway has been suggested to be critical for the pathophysiology of Diamond-Blackfan anemia. While this pathway plays a role in the morphological defects that associate with ribosomal protein loss-of-function in animal models, its role in the erythroid defects has not been clearly established. To understand the specificity of erythroid defects in Diamond-Blackfan anemia, we knocked down five RP genes (two Diamond-Blackfan anemia-associated and three non-Diamond-Blackfan anemia-associated) in zebrafish and analyzed the effects on the developmental and erythroid phenotypes in the presence and absence of Tp53. The co-inhibition of Tp53 activity rescued the morphological deformities but did not alleviate the erythroid aplasia indicating that ribosomal protein deficiency causes erythroid failure in a Tp53-independent manner. Interestingly, treatment with L-Leucine or L-Arginine, amino acids that augment mRNA translation via mTOR pathway, rescued the morphological defects and resulted in a substantial recovery of erythroid cells. Our results suggest that altered translation because of impaired ribosome function could be responsible for the morphological and erythroid defects in ribosomal protein-deficient zebrafish.