Molecular landscape of the hematopoietic stem cell cradle – EurekAlert

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IMAGE: A large cluster of hematopoietic stem cells and progenitor cells (green) attached to the wall of the aorta (red) of an embryo in which the Svep1 gene was disabled. view more 

Credit: Laurent Yvernogeau, copyright Hubrecht Institute

Researchers from the group of Catherine Robin at the Hubrecht Institute characterized the molecular landscape of the aorta that supports the generation of the first Hematopoietic Stem Cells (HSCs) in the embryo. Such HSCs are responsible for the constant replenishment of all blood cells throughout life. The researchers investigated which genes and regulatory pathways were active in the aorta of zebrafish, chicken, mouse and human embryos at the time of HSC formation. By comparing the different species, they uncovered the complexity of the aortic microenvironment landscape and the finetuning of various factors interplaying to control HSC generation both in time and space in vivo. Understanding the regulatory function of the local environment where HSCs are formed will pave the way for improved HSC production in vitro and clinical cell therapy for blood related diseases. The results are presented in the scientific journal Blood.

Hematopoietic stem cell need for the clinic

The constant production of short-lived hematopoietic cells, or blood cells, throughout life relies on a small number
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