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Gray platelet syndrome (GPS) is an autosomal recessive bleeding disorder characterized by a lack of α-granules in platelets and progressive myelofibrosis. Rare loss-of-function variants in neurobeachin-like 2 (NBEAL2), a member of the family of beige and Chédiak-Higashi (BEACH) genes, are causal of GPS. It is suggested that BEACH domain containing proteins are involved in fusion, fission, and trafficking of vesicles and granules. Studies in knockout mice suggest that NBEAL2 may control the formation and retention of granules in neutrophils. We found that neutrophils obtained from the peripheral blood from 13 patients with GPS have a normal distribution of azurophilic granules but show a deficiency of specific granules (SGs), as confirmed by immunoelectron microscopy and mass spectrometry proteomics analyses. CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from patients with GPS differentiated into mature neutrophils also lacked NBEAL2 expression but showed similar SG protein expression as control cells. This is indicative of normal granulopoiesis in GPS and identifies NBEAL2 as a potentially important regulator of granule release. Patient neutrophil functions, including production of reactive oxygen species, chemotaxis, and killing of bacteria and fungi, were intact. NETosis was absent in circulating GPS neutrophils. Lack of NETosis is suggested to be independent of NBEAL2 expression but associated with SG defects instead, as indicated by comparison with HSC-derived neutrophils. Since patients with GPS do not excessively suffer from infections, the consequence of the reduced SG content and lack of NETosis for innate immunity remains to be explored. © 2021 by The American Society of Hematology.


Cathelijn E M Aarts, Kate Downes, Arie J Hoogendijk, Evelien G G Sprenkeler, Roel P Gazendam, Rémi Favier, Marie Favier, Anton T J Tool, John L van Hamme, Myrto A Kostadima, Kate Waller, Barbara Zieger, Maaike G J M van Bergen, Saskia M C Langemeijer, Bert A van der Reijden, Hans Janssen, Timo K van den Berg, Robin van Bruggen, Alexander B Meijer, Willem H Ouwehand, Taco W Kuijpers. Neutrophil specific granule and NETosis defects in gray platelet syndrome. Blood advances. 2021 Jan 26;5(2):549-564

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PMID: 33496751

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