AIBP-mediated cholesterol efflux instructs hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell fate

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Science  08 Mar 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6431, pp. 1085-1088
DOI: 10.1126/science.aav1749

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Regulating HSC progenitors via cholesterol

Atherosclerosis is characterized by the buildup of cholesterol-containing lipoproteins in the vascular wall. This increased cholesterol augments hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) counts, and the resultant increase in leukocytes is associated with increased cardiovascular disease. Gu et al. describe a mechanism orchestrating HSPC specification from the hemogenic endothelium (HE) during embryogenesis (see the Perspective by Rajan and Berman). ApoA-I binding protein accelerated cholesterol efflux from the HE, activating the transcription factor Srebp2, which in turn transactivated Notch signaling. This mechanism also appears to be important for adult HSPC expansion in hypercholesterolemia.

Science, this issue p. 1085; see also p. 1041


Hypercholesterolemia, the driving force of atherosclerosis, accelerates the expansion and mobilization of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). The molecular determinants connecting hypercholesterolemia with hematopoiesis are unclear. Here, we report that a somite-derived prohematopoietic cue, AIBP, orchestrates HSPC emergence from the hemogenic endothelium, a type of specialized endothelium manifesting hematopoietic potential. Mechanistically, AIBP-mediated cholesterol efflux activates endothelial Srebp2, the master transcription factor for cholesterol biosynthesis, which in turn transactivates Notch and promotes HSPC emergence. Srebp2 inhibition impairs hypercholesterolemia-induced HSPC expansion. Srebp2 activation and Notch up-regulation are associated with HSPC expansion in hypercholesterolemic human subjects. Genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq), RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), and assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) indicate that Srebp2 transregulates Notch pathway genes required for hematopoiesis. Our studies outline an AIBP-regulated Srebp2-dependent paradigm for HSPC emergence in development and HPSC expansion in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

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