Chakraborty, A., Uechi, T., Nakajima, Y., Gazda, H.T., O'Donohue, M.F., Gleizes, P.E., Kenmochi, N. (2017) Cross talk between TP53 and c-Myc in the pathophysiology of Diamond-Blackfan anemia: Evidence from RPL11-deficient in vivo and in vitro models. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 495(2):1839-1845.
Mutations in genes encoding ribosomal proteins have been identified in Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA), a rare genetic disorder that presents with a prominent erythroid phenotype. TP53 has been implicated in the pathophysiology of DBA with ribosomal protein (RP) L11 playing a crucial role in the TP53 response. Interestingly, RPL11 also controls the transcriptional activity of c-Myc, an oncoprotein that positively regulates ribosome biogenesis. In the present study, we analyzed the consequences of rpl11 depletion on erythropoiesis and ribosome biogenesis in zebrafish. As expected, Rpl11-deficient zebrafish exhibited defects in ribosome biogenesis and an anemia phenotype. However, co-inhibition of Tp53 did not alleviate the erythroid aplasia in these fish. Next, we explored the role of c-Myc in RPL11-deficient cellular and animal models. c-Myc and its target nucleolar proteins showed upregulation and increased localization in the head region of Rpl11-deficient zebrafish, where the morphological abnormalities and tp53 expression were more pronounced. Interestingly, in blood cells derived from DBA patients with mutations in RPL11, the biogenesis of ribosomes was defective, but the expression level of c-Myc and its target nucleolar proteins was unchanged. The results suggest a model whereby RPL11 deficiency activates the synthesis of c-Myc target nucleolar proteins, which subsequently triggers a p53 response. These results further demonstrate that the induction of Tp53 mediates the morphological, but not erythroid, defects associated with RPL11 deficiency.