Identification of signalling cascades involved in red blood cell shrinkage and vesiculation

Elena B Kostova, Boukje M Beuger, Thomas R L Klei, Pasi Halonen, Cor Lieftink, Roderick Beijersbergen, Timo K van den Berg, Robin van Bruggen

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Even though red blood cell (RBC) vesiculation is a well-documented phenomenon, notably in the context of RBC aging and blood transfusion, the exact signalling pathways and kinases involved in this process remain largely unknown. We have established a screening method for RBC vesicle shedding using the Ca(2+) ionophore ionomycin which is a rapid and efficient method to promote vesiculation. In order to identify novel pathways stimulating vesiculation in RBC, we screened two libraries: the Library of Pharmacologically Active Compounds (LOPAC) and the Selleckchem Kinase Inhibitor Library for their effects on RBC from healthy donors. We investigated compounds triggering vesiculation and compounds inhibiting vesiculation induced by ionomycin. We identified 12 LOPAC compounds, nine kinase inhibitors and one kinase activator which induced RBC shrinkage and vesiculation. Thus, we discovered several novel pathways involved in vesiculation including G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) signalling, the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-Akt (protein kinase B) pathway, the Jak-STAT (Janus kinase-signal transducer and activator of transcription) pathway and the Raf-MEK (mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase)-ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase) pathway. Moreover, we demonstrated a link between casein kinase 2 (CK2) and RBC shrinkage via regulation of the Gardos channel activity. In addition, our data showed that inhibition of several kinases with unknown functions in mature RBC, including Alk (anaplastic lymphoma kinase) kinase and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2), induced RBC shrinkage and vesiculation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Bioscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2015

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