Chemical Genetics of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

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Chemical Genetics of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation

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Title: Chemical Genetics of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation
Author: Li, Pulin
Citation: Li, Pulin. 2012. Chemical Genetics of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
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Abstract: Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) repopulate the blood system upon transplantation. A large-scale genetic approach to understand the factors that participate in successful engraftment has not been undertaken. In this thesis, I present the development of a novel live imaging-based competitive marrow repopulation assay in adult zebrafish, which allows fast and quantitative measurement of HSPC engraftment capability. Using this assay, a transplantation-based chemical screen was performed, which led to the discovery of 10 compounds that can enhance the marrow engraftment capability in zebrafish. Among them, the arachidonic acid-derived epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EET), had conserved effects on both short- and long-term bone marrow engraftment in mice. Genetic analysis in zebrafish embryos demonstrated that EET acts through a \(G\alpha12/13\)-mediated receptor, which activates PI3K and induces transcription factors of the AP-1 family. This PI3K/AP-1 pathway directly induced the transcription of HSC marker, runx1, in embryos. The activation of PI3K by EET promoted HSPC migration and interactions with niche cells. Our studies define a role for EETs in the development of blood stem cells during embryogenesis, and in engraftment in adult vertebrates. The other compounds discovered in the screen implicate additional novel signaling pathways involved in the HSPC engraftment process, which require further investigation. In summary, this thesis elucidated an important role of bioactive lipids in regulating HSC engraftment in adults and during embryo development. Systematically mapping out the regulatory network will tremendously benefit both the basic understanding of stem cell biology and the clinical manipulation to generate better stem cells for transplantation.
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