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Blood. 2012 Aug 23;120(8):1601-12. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-11-393983. Epub 2012 Jul 9.

Necdin, a p53 target gene, regulates the quiescence and response to genotoxic stress of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells.

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Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.


We recently defined a critical role for p53 in regulating the quiescence of adult hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and identified necdin as a candidate p53 target gene. Necdin is a growth-suppressing protein and the gene encoding it is one of several that are deleted in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome. To define the intrinsic role of necdin in adult hematopoiesis, in the present study, we transplanted necdin-null fetal liver cells into lethally irradiated recipients. We show that necdin-null adult HSCs are less quiescent and more proliferative than normal HSCs, demonstrating the similar role of necdin and p53 in promoting HSC quiescence during steady-state conditions. However, wild-type recipients repopulated with necdin-null hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells show enhanced sensitivity to irradiation and chemotherapy, with increased p53-dependent apoptosis, myelosuppression, and mortality. Necdin controls the HSC response to genotoxic stress via both cell-cycle-dependent and cell-cycle-independent mechanisms, with the latter occurring in a Gas2L3-dependent manner. We conclude that necdin functions as a molecular switch in adult hematopoiesis, acting in a p53-like manner to promote HSC quiescence in the steady state, but suppressing p53-dependent apoptosis in response to genotoxic stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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