Late fetal hematopoietic failure results from ZBTB11 deficiency despite abundant HSC specification

Huimin Cao, Shalin H. Naik, Daniela Amann-Zalcenstein, Peter Hickey, Agus Salim, Benjamin Cao, Susan K. Nilsson, M. Cristina Keightley, Graham J. Lieschke

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Hematopoiesis produces diverse blood cell lineages to meet the basal needs and sudden demands of injury or infection. A rapid response to such challenges requires the expansion of specific lineages and a prompt return to balanced steady-state levels, necessitating tightly coordinated regulation. Previously we identified a requirement for the zinc finger and broad complex, tramtrak, bric-a-brac domain–containing 11 (ZBTB11) transcription factor in definitive hematopoiesis using a forward genetic screen for zebrafish myeloid mutants. To understand its relevance to mammalian systems, we extended these studies to mice. When Zbtb11 was deleted in the hematopoietic compartment, embryos died at embryonic day (E) 18.5 with hematopoietic failure. Zbtb11 hematopoietic knockout (Zbtb11hKO) hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) were overabundantly specified from E14.5 to E17.5 compared with those in controls. Overspecification was accompanied by loss of stemness, inability to differentiate into committed progenitors and mature lineages in the fetal liver, failure to seed fetal bone marrow, and total hematopoietic failure. The Zbtb11hKO HSCs did not proliferate in vitro and were constrained in cell cycle progression, demonstrating the cell-intrinsic role of Zbtb11 in proliferation and cell cycle regulation in mammalian HSCs. Single-cell RNA sequencing analysis identified that Zbtb11-deficient HSCs were underrepresented in an erythroid-primed subpopulation and showed downregulation of oxidative phosphorylation pathways and dysregulation of genes associated with the hematopoietic niche. We identified a cell-intrinsic requirement for Zbtb11-mediated gene regulatory networks in sustaining a pool of maturation-capable HSCs and progenitor cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6506-6519
Number of pages14
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2023

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