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Single-cell transcriptomics identifies CD44 as a new marker and regulator of haematopoietic stem cells development

By Morgan Oatley, Ozge Vargel Bolukbasi, Valentine Svensson, Maya Shvartsman, Kerstin Ganter, Katharina Zirngibl, Polina V. Pavlovich, Vladislava Milchevskaya, Vladimira Foteva, Kedar N Natarajan, Bianka Baying, Vladimir Benes, Kiran R. Patil, Sarah A Teichmann, Christophe Lancrin

Posted 06 Jun 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/338178

The endothelial to haematopoietic transition (EHT) is the process whereby haemogenic endothelium differentiates into haematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). The intermediary steps of this process are unclear, in particular the identity of endothelial cells that give rise to HSPCs is unknown. Using single-cell transcriptome analysis and antibody screening we identified CD44 as a new marker of EHT enabling us to isolate robustly the different stages of EHT in the aorta gonad mesonephros (AGM) region. This allowed us to provide a very detailed phenotypical and transcriptional profile for haemogenic endothelial cells, characterising them with high expression of genes related to Notch signalling, TGFbeta/BMP antagonists (Smad6, Smad7 and Bmper) and a downregulation of genes related to glycolysis and the TCA cycle. Moreover, we demonstrated that by inhibiting the interaction between CD44 and its ligand hyaluronan we could block EHT, identifying a new regulator of HSPC development.

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