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Blood. 2005 Jun 1;105(11):4170-8. Epub 2005 Feb 8.

Podocalyxin is a CD34-related marker of murine hematopoietic stem cells and embryonic erythroid cells.

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  • 1The Biomedical Research Centre, University of British Columbia, 2222 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z3.


Podocalyxin/podocalyxin-like protein 1 [PCLP1]/thrombomucin/MEP21 is a CD34-related sialomucin. We have performed a detailed analysis of its expression during murine development and assessed its utility as a marker of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and their more differentiated progeny. We find that podocalyxin is highly expressed by the first primitive hematopoietic progenitors and nucleated red blood cells to form in the embryonic yolk sac. Likewise, podocalyxin is expressed by definitive multilineage hematopoietic progenitors and erythroid precursors in fetal liver. The level of podocalyxin expression gradually declines with further embryo maturation and reaches near-background levels at birth. This is followed by a postnatal burst of expression that correlates with the seeding of new hematopoietic progenitors to the spleen and bone marrow. Shortly thereafter, podocalyxin expression gradually declines, and by 4 weeks postpartum it is restricted to a rare population of Sca-1(+), c-kit(+), lineage marker(-) (Lin(-)) cells in the bone marrow. These rare podocalyxin-expressing cells are capable of serially reconstituting myeloid and lymphoid lineages in lethally irradiated recipients, suggesting they have HSC activity. In summary, we find that podocalyxin is a marker of embryonic HSCs and erythroid cells and of adult HSCs and that it may be a valuable marker for the purification of these cells for transplantation.

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