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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Jun 13;103(24):9057-62. Epub 2006 Jun 5.

Rb is dispensable for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation of adult hematopoietic stem cells.

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Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Stem cells have been identified as essential for maintaining multiple organ systems, including the hematopoietic system. The distinct cell fates of self-renewal and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) depend on cell division. Recently, several negative regulators of the cell cycle, such as the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21(Cip1), p27(Kip1), and p16(INK4a)/p19(ARF), have been demonstrated to have a role in regulating HSC fate decisions, suggesting that regulation of the G(1)-S phase transition can contribute to HSC self-renewal. Because the retinoblastoma protein, Rb, plays a central role in the regulation of the G(1)-S phase cell cycle, we sought to determine whether it has an intrinsic role in the regulation of HSC fate. Surprisingly, we found that HSC function was essentially normal in the absence of Rb. Rb(Delta/Delta) HSCs contributed normally to both myeloid and lymphoid lineages in both primary and secondary recipients, and no evidence of transformation was observed. Additionally, we observed a mild myeloid expansion and decrease in mature B cells within the Rb(Delta/Delta) bone marrow but a similar contribution to phenotypic HSC populations compared with nondeleted bone marrow. The Rb family members p107 and p130 were not deregulated in cells in which Rb had been deleted, as determined by quantitative RT-PCR on the highly enriched stem and primitive progenitor cell lin(-)c-Kit(+)Sca-1(+) population. These studies demonstrate that Rb is not intrinsically required for self-renewal and multilineage differentiation of adult HSCs.

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