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Haematopoietic stem cells are progenitor cells that have the ability to both generate all types of blood cells, including those of the myeloid and lymphoid lineages, and to replace themselves. In adults, they mainly reside in the bone marrow.
Hanssen et al. show that CTCF–cohesin binding sites at the α-globin gene cluster function as boundaries to restrict the interaction of enhancers with the flanking chromatin, thus preventing abnormal gene expression.
Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells are generated first from the vascular endothelium of the dorsal aorta and then the fetal liver but what regulates this switch is unknown. Here, the authors show that changing miRNA biogenesis and leukotriene B4 signaling in mice modulates this switch in the niche.
Zhou et al. demonstrate that bone marrow adipocytes, but not intraperitoneal adipocytes, express high levels of stem cell factor (SCF), which is essential for the regeneration of haematopoietic stem cells and haematopoiesis after irradiation.
The iron-regulated F-box protein FBXL5 regulates iron homeostasis by mediating the degradation of iron regulatory protein 2 (IRP2). Here the authors show that FBXL5 and its regulation of IRP2 are required for HSC self-renewal and reconstitution capability.
CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) sites are enriched at the boundaries of topologically associated domains (TADs), but their function within TADs is unclear. Removal of sub-TAD CTCF sites adjacent to the α-globin enhancers is now shown to result in inappropriate activation of neighbouring genes. Intra-TAD enhancer insulation might be broadly important for tissue specificity of enhancers.
Determining the differentiation potential of stem and progenitor cells is essential for understanding their function, yet our ability to do so is limited by the restrictions of experimental assays. Based on single-cell functional and molecular profiling experiments, a new computational approach shows how lineage commitment may occur in human haematopoiesis.