[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RNA-binding proteins of the Musashi (Msi) family are expressed in stem cell compartments and in aggressive tumors, but they have not yet been widely explored in the blood. Here we demonstrate that Msi2 is the predominant form expressed in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), and its knockdown leads to reduced engraftment and depletion of HSCs in vivo. Overexpression of human MSI2 in a mouse model increases HSC cell cycle progression and cooperates with the chronic myeloid leukemia-associated BCR-ABL1 oncoprotein to induce an aggressive leukemia. MSI2 is overexpressed in human myeloid leukemia cell lines, and its depletion leads to decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis. Expression levels in human myeloid leukemia directly correlate with decreased survival in patients with the disease, thereby defining MSI2 expression as a new prognostic marker and as a new target for therapy in acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Pou domain containing transcription factor Oct4 is a well-established regulator of pluripotency in the inner cell mass of the mammalian blastocyst as well as in embryonic stem cells. While it has been shown that the Oct4 gene is inactivated through a series of epigenetic modifications following implantation, recent studies have detected Oct4 activity in a variety of somatic stem cells and tumor cells. Based on these observations it has been suggested that Oct4 may also function in maintaining self-renewal of somatic stem cells and, in addition, may promote tumor formation. We employed a genetic approach to determine whether Oct4 is important for maintaining pluripotency in the stem cell compartments of several somatic tissues including the intestinal epithelium, bone marrow (hematopoietic and mesenchymal lineages), hair follicle, brain, and liver. Oct4 gene ablation in these tissues revealed no abnormalities in homeostasis or regenerative capacity. We conclude that Oct4 is dispensable for both self-renewal and maintenance of somatic stem cells in the adult mammal.