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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1999 Mar 2;96(5):2159-64.

In vitro hematopoietic and endothelial potential of flk-1(-/-) embryonic stem cells and embryos.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, 1 King's College Circle, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5G 2C4.


Mice deficient in the Flk-1 receptor tyrosine kinase are known to die in utero because of defective vascular and hematopoietic development. Here, we show that flk-1(-/-) embryonic stem cells are nevertheless able to differentiate into hematopoietic and endothelial cells in vitro, although they give rise to a greatly reduced number of blast colonies, a measure of hemangioblast potential. Furthermore, normal numbers of hematopoietic progenitors are found in 7.5-day postcoitum flk-1(-/-) embryos, even though 8. 5-day postcoitum flk-1(-/-) embryos are known to be deficient in such cells. Our results suggest that hematopoietic/endothelial progenitors arise independently of Flk-1, but that their subsequent migration and expansion require a Flk-1-mediated signal.

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