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Stem Cells. 2015 Jul;33(7):2196-207. doi: 10.1002/stem.1985. Epub 2015 Apr 27.

Unipotent Megakaryopoietic Pathway Bridging Hematopoietic Stem Cells and Mature Megakaryocytes.

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Department of Hematology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.
Division of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Department of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.
Institute of Advanced Biomedical Engineering and Science, Tokyo Women's Medical University, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
Baxter Laboratory in Stem Cell Biology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford University of School of Medicine, Stanford, California, USA.
Life Science Center, Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan.


Recent identification of platelet/megakaryocyte-biased hematopoietic stem/repopulating cells requires revision of the intermediate pathway for megakaryopoiesis. Here, we show a unipotent megakaryopoietic pathway bypassing the bipotent megakaryocyte/erythroid progenitors (biEMPs). Cells purified from mouse bone marrow by CD42b (GPIbα) marking were demonstrated to be unipotent megakaryocytic progenitors (MKPs) by culture and transplantation. A subpopulation of freshly isolated CD41(+) cells in the lineage Sca1(+) cKit(+) (LSK) fraction (subCD41(+) LSK) differentiated only into MKP and mature megakaryocytes in culture. Although CD41(+) LSK cells as a whole were capable of differentiating into all myeloid and lymphoid cells in vivo, they produced unipotent MKP, mature megakaryocytes, and platelets in vitro and in vivo much more efficiently than Flt3(+) CD41(-) LSK cells, especially at the early phase after transplantation. In single cell polymerase chain reaction and thrombopoietin (TPO) signaling analyses, the MKP and a fraction of CD41(+) LSK, but not the biEMP, showed the similarities in mRNA expression profile and visible TPO-mediated phosphorylation. On increased demand of platelet production after 5-FU treatment, a part of CD41(+) LSK population expressed CD42b on the surface, and 90% of them showed unipotent megakaryopoietic capacity in single cell culture and predominantly produced platelets in vivo at the early phase after transplantation. These results suggest that the CD41(+) CD42b(+) LSK are straightforward progenies of megakaryocytes/platelet-biased stem/repopulating cells, but not progenies of biEMP. Consequently, we show a unipotent/highly biased megakaryopoietic pathway interconnecting stem/repopulating cells and mature megakaryocytes, the one that may play physiologic roles especially in emergency megakaryopoiesis.


Adult hematopoietic stem cells; Hematopoietic progenitors; Megakaryocyte; Thrombopoiesis; Thrombopoietin

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