Differential gene expression of human stem progenitor cells derived from early stages of in utero human hematopoiesis
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Hematopoietic stem progenitor cells (HSPCs) are highly enriched in a rare subset of Lin-CD34+CD38- cells. Independent of stage of human development, HSPC function segregates to the subset of Lin-CD34+CD38- cells. However, fetal-derived HSPCs demonstrate distinct self-renewal and differentiation capacities compared with their adult counterparts. Here, to characterize the molecular nature of fetal HSPCs, suppressive subtractive hybridization was used to compare gene expression of HSPCs isolated from fetal blood (FB-HSPCs) versus adult mobilized peripheral blood (MPB-HSPCs). We identified 97 differentially expressed genes that could be annotated into distinct groups that include transcription factors, cell cycle regulators, and genes involved in signal transduction. Candidate regulators, such as Lim only domain-2 (LMO2), nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB), tripartite motif 28 (Trim28), and N-myc protooncogene (MYCN), and a novel homeobox gene product were among transcripts that were found to be differentially expressed and could be associated with specific proliferation and differentiation properties unique to FB-HSPCs. Interestingly, the majority of genes associated with signal transduction belong to Ras pathway, highlighting the significance of Ras signaling in FB-HSPCs. Genes differentially expressed in FB-HSPCs versus adult MPB-HSPCs were verified using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR). This approach also resulted in the identification of a transcript that is highly expressed in FB-HSPCs but not detectable in more differentiated Lin-CD34+CD38+ FB progenitors. Our investigation represents the first study to compare phenotypically similar, but functionally distinct, HSPC populations and to provide a gene profile of unique human HSPCs with higher proliferative capacity derived from early in utero human blood development.
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