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Hematology - Oncology

Runx1 Loss Minimally Impacts Long-Term Hematopoietic Stem Cells
Published: Thursday, December 01, 2011
Author: Xiongwei Cai et al.

by Xiongwei Cai, Justin J. Gaudet, James K. Mangan, Michael J. Chen, Maria Elena De Obaldia, Zaw Oo, Patricia Ernst, Nancy A. Speck

RUNX1 encodes a DNA binding subunit of the core-binding transcription factors and is frequently mutated in acute leukemia, therapy-related leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, and chronic myelomonocytic leukemia. Mutations in RUNX1 are thought to confer upon hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) a pre-leukemic state, but the fundamental properties of Runx1 deficient pre-leukemic HSCs are not well defined. Here we show that Runx1 deficiency decreases both apoptosis and proliferation, but only minimally impacts the frequency of long term repopulating HSCs (LT-HSCs). It has been variously reported that Runx1 loss increases LT-HSC numbers, decreases LT-HSC numbers, or causes age-related HSC exhaustion. We attempt to resolve these discrepancies by showing that Runx1 deficiency alters the expression of several key HSC markers, and that the number of functional LT-HSCs varies depending on the criteria used to score them. Finally, we identify genes and pathways, including the cell cycle and p53 pathways that are dysregulated in Runx1 deficient HSCs.