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Autophagy. 2017 Apr 3;13(4):770-771. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2016.1278093. Epub 2017 Jan 27.

Single-cell RNA sequencing highlights transcription activity of autophagy-related genes during hematopoietic stem cell formation in mouse embryos.

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a College of Bioinformatics Science and Technology , Harbin Medical University , Harbin , China.
b 307-Ivy Translational Medicine Center , Laboratory of Oncology, Affiliated Hospital, Academy of Military Medical Sciences , Beijing , China.
c Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology , School of Basic Sciences and Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College & Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences , Beijing , China.
d Training Center for Students Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education, Harbin Medical University , Harbin , China.


Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that macroautophagy/autophagy plays an essential role in self-renewal and differentiation in embryonic hematopoiesis. Here, according to the RNA sequencing data sets of 5 population cells related to hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) formation during mouse embryogenesis (endothelial cells, PTPRC/CD45- and PTPRC/CD45+ pre-HSCs in the E11 aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region, mature HSCs in E12 and E14 fetal liver), we explored the dynamic expression of mouse autophagy-related genes in this course at the single-cell level. Our results revealed that the transcription activity of autophagy-related genes had a substantial increase when endothelial cells (ECs) specified into pre-HSCs, and the upregulation of autophagy-essential genes correlated with reduced NOTCH signaling in pre-HSCs, suggesting the autophagy activity may be greatly enhanced during pre-HSC specification from endothelial precursors. In summary, our results presented strong evidence that autophagy plays a critical role in HSC emergence during mouse midgestation.


autophagy; hematopoiesis; hematopoietic stem cell; mouse embryos; single cell

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