University of New Hampshire
Mentor: Dr. Don Wojchowski Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences
The Effects of RHEX Suppression on the Formation of Megakaryocytes and Platelets
Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells are responsible for the continuous renewal and replacement of circulating blood cells throughout life. A recent study has identified a novel membrane anchored adaptor protein (RHEX) that is essential for the formation of late stage development of erythrocytes and their progenitors. When RHEX expression was inhibited, this resulted in failed red blood cell formation. RHEX is present in hematopoietic stem cells and the cells have no issues in their development until maturation. This gives rise to the idea that if RHEX were to be suppressed in related cell lineages there should be a functional failure in the development and maturation of other lineages. This study aims to use a genetic “knockdown” approach to determine if RHEX is crucial for the development of the precursor progenitor cell for platelets, termed megakaryocytes. This will be determined through the knocking down of a mRNA transcript responsible for RHEX expression. This proposed study may provide important new insight into the regulated production of human platelets, which are important clinically in a context of blood clotting.