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GEN News Highlights : Sep 6, 2010

Investigators Figure Out How Hematopoietic Stem Cells Survive in Hypoxic Conditions

Team describes transcriptional network that regulates HSC metabolism through glycolysis.

Researchers have identified that hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) utilize glycolysis instead of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation to meet their energy demands. This allows them to survive in low-oxygen microenvironments, a property that makes bone marrow transplantation so efficient.

UT Southwestern Medical Center scientists report their findings in Cell Stem Cell in a paper titled “The Distinct Metabolic Profile of Hematopoietic Stem Cells Reflects Their Location in a Hypoxic Niche.”

The team used flow cytometry to identify a low mitochondrial activity/glycolysis-dependent subpopulation that houses the majority of hematopoietic progenitors and long-term HSCs (LT-HSCs). They demonstrated that Meis1 and Hif-1α are markedly enriched in LT-HSCs and that Meis1 regulates HSC metabolism through transcriptional activation of Hif-1α.

The investigators believe that the findings reveal an important transcriptional network that regulates HSC metabolism.