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Blood. 2009 Feb 5;113(6):1250-6. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-04-146480. Epub 2008 Oct 22.

TGF-beta as a candidate bone marrow niche signal to induce hematopoietic stem cell hibernation.

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


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) reside in a bone marrow niche in a nondividing state from which they occasionally are aroused to undergo cell division. Yet, the mechanism underlying this unique feature remains largely unknown. We have recently shown that freshly isolated CD34-KSL hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in a hibernation state exhibit inhibited lipid raft clustering. Lipid raft clustering induced by cytokines is essential for HSCs to augment cytokine signals to the level enough to re-enter the cell cycle. Here we screened candidate niche signals that inhibit lipid raft clustering, and identified that transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) efficiently inhibits cytokine-mediated lipid raft clustering and induces HSC hibernation ex vivo. Smad2 and Smad3, the signaling molecules directly downstream from and activated by TGF-beta receptors were specifically activated in CD34-KSL HSCs in a hibernation state, but not in cycling CD34+KSL progenitors. These data uncover a critical role for TGF-beta as a candidate niche signal in the control of HSC hibernation and provide TGF-beta as a novel tool for ex vivo modeling of the HSC niche.

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