Expansion of functionally defined mouse hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells by a short isoform of RUNX1/AML1.

Division of Molecular Medicine, Aichi Cancer Center Research Institute, Nagoya, Japan.
Blood (Impact Factor: 9.06). 11/2011; 119(3):727-35. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2011-06-362277
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Self-renewal activity is essential for the maintenance and regeneration of the hematopoietic system. The search for molecules capable of promoting self-renewal and expanding hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) has met with limited success. Here, we show that a short isoform (AML1a) of RUNX1/AML1 has such activities. Enforced AML1a expression expanded functionally defined HSCs, with an efficiency that was at least 20 times greater than that of the control in vivo and by 18-fold within 7 days ex vivo. The ex vivo-expanded HSCs could repopulate hosts after secondary transplantations. Moreover, AML1a expression resulted in vigorous and long-term (> 10(6)-fold at 4 weeks) ex vivo expansion of progenitor cell populations capable of differentiating into multilineages. Gene expression analysis revealed that AML1a expression was associated with up-regulation of genes, including Hoxa9, Meis1, Stat1, and Ski. shRNA-mediated silencing of these genes attenuated AML1a-mediated activities. Overall, these findings establish AML1a as an isoform-specific molecule that can influence several transcriptional regulators associated with HSCs, leading to enhanced self-renewal activity and hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell expansion ex vivo and in vivo. Therefore, the abilities of AML1a may have implications for HSC transplantation and transfusion medicine, given that the effects also can be obtained by cell-penetrating AML1a protein.