HEMATOPOIESIS AND STEM CELLS The transcription factor Srf regulates hematopoietic stem cell adhesion

Abstract

Adhesion properties of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the bone marrow (BM) niches control their migration and affect their cell-cycle dynamics. The serum response factor (Srf) regulates growth factor–inducible genes and genes controlling cytoskeleton structures involved in cell spreading, adhesion, and migration. We identified a role for Srf in HSC adhesion and steady-state hematopoiesis. Conditional deletion of Srf in BM cells resulted in a 3-fold expansion of the longand short-term HSCs and multipotent progenitors (MPPs), which occurs without long-term modification of cellcycle dynamics. Early differentiation steps to myeloid and lymphoid lineages were normal, but Srf loss results in alterations in mature-cell production and severe thrombocytopenia. Srf-null BM cells also displayed compromised engraftment properties in transplantation assays. Gene expression analysis identified Srf target genes expressed in HSCs, including a network of genes associated with cell migration and adhesion. Srf-null stem cells and MPPs displayed impair expression of the integrin network and decreased adherence in vitro. In addition, Srf-null mice showed increase numbers of circulating stem and progenitor cells, which likely reflect their reduced retention in the BM. Altogether, our results demonstrate that Srf is an essential regulator of stem cells and MPP adhesion, and suggest that Srf acts mainly through cellmatrix interactions and integrin signaling. (Blood. 2010;116(22):4464-4473)

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