Li P, Lahvic JL, Binder V, Pugach EK, Riley EB, Tamplin OJ, Panigrahy D, Bowman TV, Barrett FG, Heffner GC, McKinney-Freeman S, Schlaeger TM, Daley GQ, Zeldin DC, Zon LI. 2015. Epoxyeicosatrienoic acids enhance embryonic haematopoiesis and adult marrow engraftment. Nature. 523(7561):468-71. Pubmed: 26201599 DOI:10.1038/nature14569


Haematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) transplant is a widely used treatment for life-threatening conditions such as leukaemia; however, the molecular mechanisms regulating HSPC engraftment of the recipient niche remain incompletely understood. Here we develop a competitive HSPC transplant method in adult zebrafish, using in vivo imaging as a non-invasive readout. We use this system to conduct a chemical screen, and identify epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) as a family of lipids that enhance HSPC engraftment. The pro-haematopoietic effects of EETs were conserved in the developing zebrafish embryo, where 11,12-EET promoted HSPC specification by activating a unique activator protein 1 (AP-1) and runx1 transcription program autonomous to the haemogenic endothelium. This effect required the activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI(3)K) pathway, specifically PI(3)Kγ. In adult HSPCs, 11,12-EET induced transcriptional programs, including AP-1 activation, which modulate several cellular processes, such as migration, to promote engraftment. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the EET effects on enhancing HSPC homing and engraftment are conserved in mammals. Our study establishes a new method to explore the molecular mechanisms of HSPC engraftment, and discovers a previously unrecognized, evolutionarily conserved pathway regulating multiple haematopoietic generation and regeneration processes. EETs may have clinical application in marrow or cord blood transplantation.

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Photo of Len Zon

The Zon laboratory aims to dissect how assaults to the hematopoietic system cause severe diseases such as leukemias, lymphomas, and anemias. They investigate hematopoietic development and disease using chemical screens, genetic screens, and analysis of novel transgenic lines in zebrafish.

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