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Blood. 2013 Feb 7;121(6):918-29. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-03-418103. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

LRF-mediated Dll4 repression in erythroblasts is necessary for hematopoietic stem cell maintenance.

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Division of Hematopoietic Stem Cell and Leukemia Research, Beckman Research Institute of the City of Hope, Duarte, CA, USA.


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are the most primitive cells in the hematopoietic system and are under tight regulation for self-renewal and differentiation. Notch signals are essential for the emergence of definitive hematopoiesis in mouse embryos and are critical regulators of lymphoid lineage fate determination. However, it remains unclear how Notch regulates the balance between HSC self-renewal and differentiation in the adult bone marrow (BM). Here we report a novel mechanism that prevents HSCs from undergoing premature lymphoid differentiation in BM. Using a series of in vivo mouse models and functional HSC assays, we show that leukemia/lymphoma related factor (LRF) is necessary for HSC maintenance by functioning as an erythroid-specific repressor of Delta-like 4 (Dll4) expression. Lrf deletion in erythroblasts promoted up-regulation of Dll4 in erythroblasts, sensitizing HSCs to T-cell instructive signals in the BM. Our study reveals novel cross-talk between HSCs and erythroblasts, and sheds a new light on the regulatory mechanisms regulating the balance between HSC self-renewal and differentiation.

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