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EMBO J. 2006 Aug 9;25(15):3515-23. Epub 2006 Jul 20.

Cytokine signals modulated via lipid rafts mimic niche signals and induce hibernation in hematopoietic stem cells.

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Laboratory of Stem Cell Therapy, Center for Experimental Medicine, The Institute of Medical Science, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in the bone marrow (BM) niche in a noncycling state and enter the cell cycle at long intervals. However, little is known about inter- and intracellular signaling mechanisms underlying this unique property of HSCs. Here, we show that lipid raft clustering is a key event in the regulation of HSC dormancy. Freshly isolated HSCs from the BM niche lack lipid raft clustering, exhibit repression of the AKT-FOXO signaling pathway, and express abundant p57(Kip2) cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. Lipid raft clustering induced by cytokines is essential for HSC re-entry into the cell cycle. Conversely, inhibition of lipid raft clustering caused sustained nuclear accumulation of FOXO transcription factors and induced HSC hibernation ex vivo. These data establish a critical role for lipid rafts in regulating the cell cycle, the survival, and the entry into apoptosis of HSCs and uncover a striking similarity in HSC hibernation and Caenorhabditis elegans dauer formation.

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