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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Sep 12;103(37):13783-8. Epub 2006 Aug 31.

Hmgb3 regulates the balance between hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal and differentiation.

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  • 1Hematopoiesis Section, Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, Bethesda, MD 20892-4442, USA.


Hmgb3 is an X-linked member of a family of sequence-independent chromatin-binding proteins that is preferentially expressed in hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). Hmgb3-deficient mice (Hmgb3(-/Y)) contain normal numbers of HSCs, capable of self-renewal and hematopoietic repopulation, but fewer common lymphoid (CLP) and common myeloid progenitors (CMP). In this study, we tested the hypothesis that Hmgb3(-/Y) HSCs are biased toward self-renewal at the expense of progenitor production. Wild-type and Hmgb3(-/Y) CLPs and CMPs proliferate and differentiate equally in vitro, indicating that CLP and CMP function normally in Hmgb3(-/Y) mice. Hmgb3(-/Y) HSCs exhibit constitutive activation of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, which regulates stem cell self-renewal. Increased Wnt signaling in Hmgb3(-/Y) HSCs corresponds to increased expression of Dvl1, a positive regulator of the canonical Wnt pathway. To induce hematopoietic stress and a subsequent response from HSCs, we treated Hmgb3(-/Y) mice with 5-fluorouracil. Hmgb3(-/Y) mice exhibit a faster recovery of functional HSCs after administration of 5-fluorouracil compared with wild-type mice, which may be due to the increased Wnt signaling. Furthermore, the recovery of HSC number in Hmgb3(-/Y) mice occurs more rapidly than CLP and CMP recovery. From these data, we propose a model in which Hmgb3 is required for the proper balance between HSC self-renewal and differentiation.

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