Abstract 2520

Poster Board II-497

The life-long production of blood cells depends on the regenerative capacity of a rare bone marrow population, the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). In the adult, the majority of HSCs are quiescent while a large proportion of progenitors are more cycling. The state of quiescence in HSCs is reversible and these cells can be triggered into cycle by chemotoxic injuries, exposure to cytokines in vitro, as well as transplantation in vivo. SCL/TAL1 is a bHLH transcription factor that has a critical role in generating HSCs during development. However, the role of SCL in adult HSCs is still a matter of debate. In the present study, we took several approaches to address this question. Scl expression was monitored by quantitative PCR analysis in a population that contains adult long-term reconstituting HSCs (LT-HSCs) at a frequency of 20–50%: Kit+Sca+Lin-CD150+CD48-. RT-PCR results were confirmed by β-galactosidase staining of these cells in Scl-LacZ mice. We show that Scl is highly expressed in LT-HSC and that its expression correlates with quiescence, i.e. Scl levels decrease when LT-HSCs exit the G0 state. In order to assess stem cell function, we performed several transplantation assays with adult bone marrow cells in which SCL protein levels were decreased at least two-fold by gene targeting or by RNA interference. 1) The mean stem cell activity of HSCs transplanted at ∼1 CRU was two-fold decreased in Scl heterozygous (Scl+/−) mice. 2) In competitive transplantation, the contribution of Scl+/− cells to primitive populations as well mature cells in the bone marrow was significantly decreased 8 months after transplantation. 3) In secondary transplantation assays, Scl+/− HSCs were severely impaired in their ability to reconstitute secondary recipient in stem cells and progenitor populations and in almost all mature lineages. 4) Reconstitution of the stem cell pool by adult HSCs expressing Scl-directed shRNAs was significantly decreased compared to controls. We therefore conclude that SCL levels regulate HSC long term competence. Since Scl levels decrease when LT-HSCs exit the G0 state, we addressed the question whether the cell cycle state of LT-HSCs is sensitive to Scl gene dosage. We stained bone marrow cell populations with Hoechst and Pyronin Y. At steady state, percentage LT-HSCs in G1 fraction appears to be significantly increased in mice lacking one allele of Scl. Furthermore, a three-fold increase in G1 fraction was also observed when cells were infected with Scl-directed shRNA, suggesting that a decrease in Scl levels facilitates G0-G1 transition. At the molecular level, we show by chromatin immunoprecipitation that SCL occupies the Cdkn1a and Id1 loci. Furthermore, in purified Kit+Sca+Lin-CD150+CD48- cells, the expression levels of these two regulators of HSC cell cycle and long-term functions are sensitive to Scl gene dosage. Together, our observations suggest that SCL impedes G0-G1 transition in HSCs and regulates their long-term competence.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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