2013, Number 2
Rev Hematol Mex 2013; 14 (2)
Solving the Puzzle of Thrombopoietin
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“Thrombopoietin - at last” was the title of the News and Views article written by Donald Metcalf in the June 16, 1994 issue of Nature. He went on to say “When, for decades, a vital blood-cell growth factor has been believed to exist but has resisted all efforts to characterize it, a resolution of the conundrum is a cause for celebration.” The main article of the June issue was entitled “Stimulation of megakaryocytopoiesis and thrombopoiesis by the c-Mpl ligand”. The lead author was Dan Eaton with most other authors from Genentech except for Karl Oles, my laboratory technician, and me. The article was submitted on March 30, 1994 and accepted on May 10, 1994. As is often done with major discoveries, Nature encouraged other investigators to publish letters which were accepted in June 1994. Lok et al and Kauschansky et al published isolation of murine cDNA identified by screening autonomous mutants of cell lines for auto-stimulation of a c-Mpl receptor inserted into the cell lines. Wendling and colleagues did not clone c-Mpl ligand but provided additional evidence that the c-Mpl ligand had biological properties expected of a thrombopoietin. This article describes the role the Mayo Clinic, Karl Oles and I played in this discovery. I believe basic principles are affirmed that may prove useful for anyone engaged in research. In this article, I have referred to these principles as pieces of a puzzle.
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