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Transcriptional diversity during lineage commitment of human blood progenitors.

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Chen, Lu 
Kostadima, Myrto 
Martens, Joost HA 
Canu, Giovanni 
Garcia, Sara P 


Blood cells derive from hematopoietic stem cells through stepwise fating events. To characterize gene expression programs driving lineage choice, we sequenced RNA from eight primary human hematopoietic progenitor populations representing the major myeloid commitment stages and the main lymphoid stage. We identified extensive cell type-specific expression changes: 6711 genes and 10,724 transcripts, enriched in non-protein-coding elements at early stages of differentiation. In addition, we found 7881 novel splice junctions and 2301 differentially used alternative splicing events, enriched in genes involved in regulatory processes. We demonstrated experimentally cell-specific isoform usage, identifying nuclear factor I/B (NFIB) as a regulator of megakaryocyte maturation-the platelet precursor. Our data highlight the complexity of fating events in closely related progenitor populations, the understanding of which is essential for the advancement of transplantation and regenerative medicine.



Alternative Splicing, Cell Lineage, Genetic Variation, Hematopoiesis, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Humans, NFI Transcription Factors, RNA-Binding Proteins, Thrombopoiesis, Transcriptome

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American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Wellcome Trust (082961/Z/07/Z)
Wellcome Trust (084183/Z/07/Z)
British Heart Foundation (None)
CCF (None)
Medical Research Council (MR/K024043/1)
Wellcome Trust (100140/Z/12/Z)
Wellcome Trust (091310/Z/10/Z)
European Commission (257082)
The work described in this article was primarily supported by the European Commission Seventh Framework Program through the BLUEPRINT grant with code HEALTH-F5-2011-282510 (D.H., F.B., G.C., J.H.A.M., K.D., L.C., M.F., S.C., S.F., and S.P.G.). Research in the Ouwehand laboratory is further supported by program grants from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR,; to A.A., M.K., P.P., S.B.G.J., S.N., and W.H.O.) and the British Heart Foundation under nos. RP-PG-0310-1002 and RG/09/12/28096 (; to A.R. and W.J.A.). K.F. and M.K. were supported by Marie Curie funding from the NETSIM FP7 program funded by the European Commission. The laboratory receives funding from the NHS Blood and Transplant for facilities. The Cambridge BioResource (, the Cell Phenotyping Hub, and the Cambridge Translational GenOmics laboratory ( are supported by an NIHR grant to the Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). The BRIDGE-Bleeding and Platelet Disorders Consortium is supported by the NIHR BioResource—Rare Diseases (; to E.T., N.F., and Whole Exome Sequencing effort). Research in the Soranzo laboratory (L.V., N.S., and S. Watt) is further supported by the Wellcome Trust (Grant Codes WT098051 and WT091310) and the EU FP7 EPIGENESYS initiative (Grant Code 257082). Research in the Cvejic laboratory (A. Cvejic and C.L.) is funded by the Cancer Research UK under grant no. C45041/A14953. S.J.S. is funded by NIHR. M.E.F. is supported by a British Heart Foundation Clinical Research Training Fellowship, no. FS/12/27/29405. E.B.-M. is supported by a Wellcome Trust grant, no. 084183/Z/07/Z. Research in the Laffan laboratory is supported by Imperial College BRC. F.A.C., C.L., and S. Westbury are supported by Medical Research Council Clinical Training Fellowships, and T.B. by a British Society of Haematology/NHS Blood and Transplant grant. R.J.R. is a Principal Research Fellow of the Wellcome Trust, grant no. 082961/Z/07/Z. Research in the Flicek laboratory is also supported by the Wellcome Trust (grant no. 095908) and EMBL. Research in the Bertone laboratory is supported by EMBL. K.F. and C.v.G. are supported by FWO-Vlaanderen through grant G.0B17.13N. P.F. is a compensated member of the Omicia Inc. Scientific Advisory Board. This study made use of data generated by the UK10K Consortium, derived from samples from the Cohorts arm of the project.