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Dev Cell. 2013 Mar 25;24(6):600-11. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2013.02.011.

Endothelio-mesenchymal interaction controls runx1 expression and modulates the notch pathway to initiate aortic hematopoiesis.

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CNRS, UPMC, UMR7622, Bat C, 6(ème) étage, Case 24, 75252 Paris Cedex 05, France.


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are produced by a small cohort of hemogenic endothelial cells (ECs) during development through the formation of intra-aortic hematopoietic cell (HC) clusters. The Runx1 transcription factor plays a key role in the EC-to-HC and -HSC transition. We show that Runx1 expression in hemogenic ECs and the subsequent initiation of HC formation are tightly controlled by the subaortic mesenchyme, although the mesenchyme is not a source of HCs. Runx1 and Notch signaling are involved in this process, with Notch signaling decreasing with time in HCs. Inhibiting Notch signaling readily increases HC production in mouse and chicken embryos. In the mouse, however, this increase is transient. Collectively, we show complementary roles of hemogenic ECs and mesenchymal compartments in triggering aortic hematopoiesis. The subaortic mesenchyme induces Runx1 expression in hemogenic-primed ECs and collaborates with Notch dynamics to control aortic hematopoiesis.

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