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Blood. 2013 Feb 28;121(9):1543-52. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-09-457747. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

Gli3-mediated hedgehog inhibition in human pluripotent stem cells initiates and augments developmental programming of adult hematopoiesis.

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McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.


Programs that control early lineage fate decisions and transitions from embryonic to adult human cell types during development are poorly understood. Using human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), in the present study, we reveal reduction of Hedgehog (Hh) signaling correlates to developmental progression of hematopoiesis throughout human ontogeny. Both chemical- and gene-targeting–mediated inactivation of Hh signaling augmented hematopoietic fate and initiated transitions from embryonic to adult hematopoiesis, as measured by globin regulation in hPSCs. Inhibition of the Hh pathway resulted in truncation of Gli3 to its repressor, Gli3R, and was shown to be necessary and sufficient for initiating this transition. Our results reveal an unprecedented role for Hh signaling in the regulation of adult hematopoietic specification, thereby demonstrating the ability to modulate the default embryonic programs of hPSCs.

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