Study uncovers key player contributing to healthy maintenance of bone marrow niche

February 17, 2016, National University of Singapore

A study led by scientists from the Cancer Science Institute of Singapore (CSI Singapore) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) has uncovered a key player contributing to the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), blood cell precursors which have the ability to become any type of blood cell in the body.

The research team, which includes Professor Toshio Suda and Dr Ayako Ishizu, who are respectively Senior Principal Investigator and Visiting Senior Research Scientist from CSI Singapore, found that the CLEC-2 protein was able to mediate the activity of the bone marrow (BM) niche where HSCs reside, and contribute to the health of the BM niche by influencing the production of Thrombopoietin (Thpo) protein.

While earlier studies have established the requirement of Thpo for the regular activity of HSCs in the BM niche, this study is the first to identify CLEC-2's role in the regulation of Thpo production, which contributes to the regular activity of HSCs in the BM niche. The team found that deficiencies in CLEC-2 result in a reduction of Thpo levels, as well as irregularities in BM niche and HSC maintenance, thus leading to abnormal blood cell production and activity.

The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine in November 2015.

The healthy maintenance of the BM niche is significant given that HSCs are able to replenish all types of blood cells in the body, and are hence responsible for the regenerative abilities of the blood cells. While a remains the most promising therapy option for sufferers of many blood disorders, post-transplant prognoses are largely dependent on the quality and amount of donor HSCs which are transplanted into the recipient.

"As leukaemia stem cells are known to hijack the healthy niche and rely on niche signals for disease progression, results from this study may point to these irregularities influencing the development and progression of blood diseases. We are hopeful that our findings from this study will contribute towards a better understanding of the underlying causes of the development and progression of hematopoietic diseases such as leukaemia and lymphoma, and ultimately, to the advancement of treatment for such diseases," said Prof Suda.

Explore further: Stem cells regulate their own proliferation and their microenvironment

More information: A. Nakamura-Ishizu et al. CLEC-2 in megakaryocytes is critical for maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow, Journal of Experimental Medicine (2015). DOI: 10.1084/jem.20150057

Related Stories

Stem cells regulate their own proliferation and their microenvironment

January 8, 2016
A study by researchers at the Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares Carlos III (CNIC) has identified a new mechanism through which hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) control both their own proliferation and the ...

Researchers find marker identifying most basic form of blood stem cell

February 11, 2016
After a long series of experiments, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have identified a unique cell marker that they say allows them to pick out the most fundamental form of the stem cell that gives ...

Conditions that promote proliferation of blood-forming cells in fetal liver

January 11, 2016
A study directed by Paul Frenette, M.D., is featured on the cover of today's print edition of Science. In experiments involving mice, Dr. Frenette and his colleagues have solved a mystery surrounding the development of hematopoietic ...

Researchers identify protein key to the development of blood stem cells

November 25, 2014
Led by Dr. Hanna Mikkola, a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research, UCLA scientists have discovered a protein that is integral to the self-replication of hematopoietic stem ...

Researchers poke around for blood genes

July 10, 2015
Even though the transplantation of blood stem cells, also known as bone marrow, has saved many lives over many decades, the genes that control the number or function of blood stem cells are not fully understood. In a study ...

Team identifies emergency response system for blood formation

November 16, 2015
Scientists at the Children's Medical Center Research Institute at UT Southwestern (CRI) have determined how the body responds during times of emergency when it needs more blood cells. In a study published in Nature, researchers ...

Recommended for you

Switch discovered to convert blood vessels to blood stem cells in embryonic development

March 20, 2018
A switch has been discovered that instructs blood vessel cells to become blood stem cells during embryonic development in mice. Using single-cell technology, researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge and ...

Scientists discover new causes of cellular decline in prematurely aging kids

March 19, 2018
In a recent paper published in Cell Reports, Saint Louis University researchers have uncovered new answers about why cells rapidly age in children with a rare and fatal disease. The data points to cellular replication stress ...

Don't blame adolescent social behavior on hormones

March 19, 2018
Reproductive hormones that develop during puberty are not responsible for changes in social behavior that occur during adolescence, according to the results of a newly published study by a University at Buffalo researcher.

Stem cells treat macular degeneration

March 19, 2018
In July 2015, 86-year-old Douglas Waters developed severe age-related macular degeneration (AMD). He struggled to see things clearly, even when up close.

Measuring neutrophil motility could lead to accurate sepsis diagnosis

March 19, 2018
A microfluidic device developed by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators may help solve a significant and persistent challenge in medicine—diagnosing the life-threatening complication of sepsis. In their paper ...

Democratizing science: Researchers make neuroscience experiments easier to share, reproduce

March 16, 2018
Over the past few years, scientists have faced a problem: They often cannot reproduce the results of experiments done by themselves or their peers.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.