Mutations in the ER chaperone calreticulin (CALR) are common in myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients, activate the thrombopoietin receptor (MPL), and mediate constitutive JAK/STAT signaling. The mechanisms by which CALR mutations cause myeloid transformation are incompletely defined. We used mass spectrometry proteomics to identify CALR-mutant interacting proteins. Mutant CALR caused mislocalization of binding partners and increased recruitment of FLI1, ERP57, and CALR to the MPL promoter to enhance transcription. Consistent with a critical role for CALR-mediated JAK/STAT activation, we confirmed the efficacy of JAK2 inhibition on CALR-mutant cells in vitro and in vivo. Due to the altered interactome induced by CALR mutations, we hypothesized that CALR-mutant MPNs may be vulnerable to disruption of aberrant CALR protein complexes. A synthetic peptide designed to competitively inhibit the carboxy terminal of CALR specifically abrogated MPL/JAK/STAT signaling in cell lines and primary samples and improved the efficacy of JAK kinase inhibitors. These findings reveal what to our knowledge is a novel potential therapeutic approach for patients with CALR-mutant MPN.
Elodie Pronier, Paolo Cifani, Tiffany R. Merlinsky, Katharine Barr Berman, Amritha Varshini Hanasoge Somasundara, Raajit K. Rampal, John LaCava, Karen E. Wei, Friederike Pastore, Jesper L.V. Maag, Jane Park, Richard Koche, Alex Kentsis, Ross L. Levine