Ageing is accompanied by a significant reduction of hematopoietic competence driven by various causes including epigenetic alternations [1-4]. Ten-eleven translocation 2 (TET2) has been well delineated as a critical epigenetic regulator that affects hematopoietic progenitor and stem cells (HSPCs) function. Tet2 deficiency confers advantages in clonal expansion of HSPCs and skews myeloid lineage differentiation, giving rise to increased risk of hematological malignancy transformation [5-8]. TET2 loss-of-function mutations are frequently detected in aged HSPCs [10-11], thereby raising the question of how Tet2 deficiency affects HSPCs self-renewal and lineage specification during ageing.
To address this question, we harvested HSPCs from wild-type (WT) or Tet2KO young and aged donor mice, followed by competitive bone marrow transplantations to monitor age-dependent functional alterations. Despite the enlargement of the HSC pool size (the number of cells with regenerative potential) in aged mice, the aged WT HSPCs exhibited lower self-renewal capability and displayed impaired hematopoietic differentiation when competed against young stem cells. However, we found that both aged and young Tet2-deficient HSPCs shared comparable peripheral blood reconstitution, indicating no engraftment defects were caused by age for Tet2-deficient HSPCs. In parallel, scRNA-seq analysis revealed that Tet2 deficiency and age promoted the expansion of HSC compartment in a synergistic manner, leading to the largely augmented pool size of Tet2-deficient aged HSCs. But unlike aged WT stem cells, these expanded aged Tet2-null stem cells retained high self-renewal potential and possessed a competitive advantage of lineage outputs both in vitro and in vivo. Overall, through conducting repopulation assays and single-cell transcriptomes analysis, we have demonstrated that Tet2 ablation alters age-dependent HSC functional decline, revealing a disparate ageing process in the Tet2-deficient haemopoietic system.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.