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Nat Med. 2000 Nov;6(11):1278-81.

Pluripotent, cytokine-dependent, hematopoietic stem cells are immortalized by constitutive Notch1 signaling.

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Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., D2-373, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Hematopoietic stem cells give rise to progeny that either self-renew in an undifferentiated state or lose self-renewal capabilities and commit to lymphoid or myeloid lineages. Here we evaluated whether hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal is affected by the Notch pathway. Notch signaling controls cell fate choices in both invertebrates and vertebrates by inhibiting certain differentiation pathways, thereby permitting cells to either differentiate along an alternative pathway or to self-renew. Notch receptors are present in hematopoietic precursors and Notch signaling enhances the in vitro generation of human and mouse hematopoietic precursors, determines T- or B-cell lineage specification from a common lymphoid precursor and promotes expansion of CD8(+) cells. Here, we demonstrate that constitutive Notch1 signaling in hematopoietic cells established immortalized, cytokine-dependent cell lines that generated progeny with either lymphoid or myeloid characteristics both in vitro and in vivo. These data support a role for Notch signaling in regulating hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal. Furthermore, the establishment of clonal, pluripotent cell lines provides the opportunity to assess mechanisms regulating stem cell commitment and demonstrates a general method for immortalizing stem cell populations for further analysis.

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