Scientific Reports Publishes Cancer Center Member

Hematology/Oncology faculty at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, including a University of Illinois Cancer Center member, and faculty from the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) College of Pharmacy are among the authors of a recent manuscript in the journal Scientific Reports published by Nature Portfolio.

Corresponding authors of the manuscript, “Gene expression changes in sickle cell reticulocytes and their clinical associations,” include Cancer Center member Victor Gordeuk, MD, part of the Cancer Center’s Translational Oncology research program, and Xu Zhang, PhD, a Research Assistant Professor, at the College of Medicine.

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Read the abstract excerpted from the manuscript below. Read the full findings here.

“Transcriptional changes in compensatory erythropoiesis in sickle cell anemia (SCA) and their disease modulation are unclear. We detected 1226 differentially expressed genes in hemoglobin SS reticulocytes compared to non-anemic hemoglobin AA controls. Assessing developmental expression changes in hemoglobin AA erythroblasts for these genes suggests heightened terminal differentiation in early erythroblasts in SCA that diminishes toward the polychromatic to orthochromatic stage transition. Comparison of reticulocyte gene expression changes in SCA with that in Chuvash erythrocytosis, a non-anemic disorder of increased erythropoiesis due to constitutive activation of hypoxia inducible factors, identified 453 SCA-specific changes attributable to compensatory erythropoiesis. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in SCA contain elevated proportions of erythroid progenitors due to heightened erythropoiesis. Deconvolution analysis in PBMCs from 131 SCA patients detected 54 genes whose erythroid expression correlated with erythropoiesis efficiency, which were enriched with SCA-specific changes (OR = 2.9, P = 0.00063) and annotation keyword “ubiquitin-dependent protein catabolic process”, “protein ubiquitination”, and “protein polyubiquitination” (OR = 4.2, P = 7.5 × 10–5). An erythroid expression quantitative trait locus of one of these genes, LNX2 encoding an E3 ubiquitin ligase, associated with severe pain episodes in 774 SCA patients (OR = 1.7, P = 3.9 × 10–5). Thus, erythroid gene transcription responds to unique conditions within SCA erythroblasts and these changes potentially correspond to vaso-occlusive manifestations.”

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