Repository logo

p57Kip2 regulates embryonic blood stem cells by controlling sympathoadrenal progenitor expansion.

Accepted version



Change log



Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are of major clinical importance, and finding methods for their in vitro generation is a prime research focus. We show here that the cell cycle inhibitor p57Kip2/Cdkn1c limits the number of emerging HSCs by restricting the size of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and the amount of HSC-supportive catecholamines secreted by these cells. This regulation occurs at the SNS progenitor level and is in contrast to the cell-intrinsic function of p57Kip2 in maintaining adult HSCs, highlighting profound differences in cell cycle requirements of adult HSCs compared with their embryonic counterparts. Furthermore, this effect is specific to the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region and shows that the AGM is the main contributor to early fetal liver colonization, as early fetal liver HSC numbers are equally affected. Using a range of antagonists in vivo, we show a requirement for intact β2-adrenergic signaling for SNS-dependent HSC expansion. To gain further molecular insights, we have generated a single-cell RNA-sequencing data set of all Ngfr+ sympathoadrenal cells around the dorsal aorta to dissect their differentiation pathway. Importantly, this not only defined the relevant p57Kip2-expressing SNS progenitor stage but also revealed that some neural crest cells, upon arrival at the aorta, are able to take an alternative differentiation pathway, giving rise to a subset of ventrally restricted mesenchymal cells that express important HSC-supportive factors. Neural crest cells thus appear to contribute to the AGM HSC niche via 2 different mechanisms: SNS-mediated catecholamine secretion and HSC-supportive mesenchymal cell production.



Aorta, Cell Differentiation, Gonads, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Mesonephros

Journal Title


Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


American Society of Hematology
Wellcome Trust (203151/Z/16/Z)
Medical Research Council (MC_PC_17230)