Embryonic hematopoiesis in vertebrate somites gives rise to definitive hematopoietic stem cells.

Journal of molecular cell biology

PubMedID: 27252540

Qiu J, Fan X, Wang Y, Jin H, Song Y, Han Y, Huang S, Meng Y, Tang F, Meng A. Embryonic hematopoiesis in vertebrate somites gives rise to definitive hematopoietic stem cells. J Mol Cell Biol. 2016;.
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) replenish all types of blood cells. It is debating whether HSCs in adults solely originate from the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region, more specifically, the dorsal aorta, during embryogenesis. Here, we report that somite hematopoiesis, a previously unwitnessed hematopoiesis, can generate definitive HSCs (dHSCs) in zebrafish. By transgenic lineage tracing, we found that a subset of cells within the forming somites emigrate ventromedially and mix with lateral plate mesoderm-derived primitive hematopoietic cells before the blood circulation starts. These somite-derived hematopoietic precursors and stem cells (sHPSCs) subsequently enter the circulation and colonize the kidney of larvae and adults. RNA-seq analysis reveals that sHPSCs express hematopoietic genes with sustained expression of many muscle/skeletal genes. Embryonic sHPSCs transplanted into wild-type embryos expand during growth and survive for life time with differentiation into various hematopoietic lineages, indicating self-renewal and multipotency features. Therefore, the embryonic origin of dHSCs in adults is not restricted to the AGM.