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Title: Notch signalling in Xenopus laevis haematopoietic stem cell programming
Author: Stephenson, Rachel A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2746 1560
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Multipotent haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) originate in the dorsal aorta (DA) during vertebrate embryogenesis, and after migrating to a permanent niche, give rise to a continuous supply of mature blood cells of all lineages throughout adult life. Previous cell tracing experiments have shown that the cells of the DA migrate here from an early collection of haemangioblasts (bipotential precursors of blood and endothelial cells) which reside in the dorsolateral plate (DLP) mesoderm. Development of HSCs is tightly regulated by a number of key signalling pathways in both the DLP and the DA. In particular, notch signalling is considered an important factor in vascular, arterial and HSC development. Here, the relatively slow development and the spatial separation of definitive haematopoiesis from primitive haematopoiesis in Xenopus laevis has been exploited to reveal the first defect of reduced notch signalling in the Xenopus DA. Two notch inputs to HSC programming have been identified in Xenopus: notch4 and its target genes, esr7 and esr10, are expressed from stage 31, immediately after migrating haemangioblast cells reach the midline of the embryo to form the DA, whilst notch1 is expressed slightly later, from stage 34, and controls expression of two further notch target genes, esr1 and hesr1. Using both morpholino knockdown of these six genes, and chemical inhibition of notch signalling using a specific γ-secretase inhibitor, notch signalling has been demonstrated to be essential for HSC programming but dispensable for earlier haemangioblast and arterial programming. Furthermore, esr1, downstream of both notch1 and notch4, is shown to be responsible for repression of endothelial genes in the DA. Taken together, this demonstrates that a cascade of notch and notch effector genes are essential for the programming of Xenopus HSCs.
Supervisor: Patient, Roger Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biology ; Genetics (life sciences) ; Molecular haematology ; Stem cells (clinical sciences) ; Notch ; Xenopus ; Haematopoiesis ; Stem Cells ; Blood