Molecular identity of hematopoietic precursor cells emerging in the human embryo. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • It is now accepted from studies in animal models that hematopoietic stem cells emerge in the para-aortic mesoderm-derived aorta-gonad-mesonephros region of the vertebrate embryo. We have previously identified the equivalent primitive hematogenous territory in the 4- to 6-week human embryo, under the form of CD34(+)CD45(+)Lin- high proliferative potential hematopoietic cells clustered on the ventral endothelium of the aorta. To characterize molecules involved in initial stem cell emergence, we first investigated the expression in that territory of known early hematopoietic regulators. We herein show that aorta-associated CD34(+) cells coexpress the tal-1/SCL, c-myb, GATA-2, GATA-3, c-kit, and flk-1/KDR genes, as do embryonic and fetal hematopoietic progenitors later present in the liver and bone marrow. Next, CD34(+)CD45(+) aorta-associated cells were sorted by flow cytometry from a 5-week embryo and a cDNA library was constructed therefrom. Differential screening of that library with total cDNA probes obtained from CD34(+) embryonic liver cells allowed the isolation of a kinase-related sequence previously identified in KG-1 cells. In addition to emerging blood stem cells, KG-1 kinase is also strikingly expressed in all developing endothelial cells in the yolk sac and embryo, which suggests its involvement in the genesis of both hematopoietic and vascular cell lineages in humans.

publication date

  • November 15, 1998

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