SWEF proteins distinctly control maintenance and differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells

Tatsiana Ripich, Carlos Andrés Chacón-Martínez, Luise Fischer, Alessandra Pernis, Nadine Kiessling, Annette I. Garbe, Rolf Jessberger

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9 Scopus citations


SWAP-70 and DEF6, two proteins that feature similar domain and motif arrangements, are mainly known for their functions in differentiated hematopoietic cells. Both proteins interact with and regulate RhoGTPases and F-actin dynamics, yet their role in hematopoietic stem and precursor cells (HSPCs) remained unexplored. Here, the role of the SWEF proteins SWAP-70 and DEF6 in HSPCs was examined. Both SWEF proteins are expressed in HSCs. HSCs and different precursor populations were analyzed in mice deficient for SWAP-70, DEF6, SWAP-70 and DEF6 (double knockout, DKO), and wild-type controls. HSPCs isolated from these strains were used for competitive adoptive transfer into irradiated wild-type mice. Reconstitution of the myeloid and lymphoid lineages in the recipient mice was determined. The numbers of HSPCs in the bone marrow of Swap-70-/- and Swap-70-/- Def6-/- mice were >3-fold increased. When transplanted into lethally irradiated wild-type recipients, the reconstitution potential of Swap-70-/- HSPCs was intrinsically impaired in competing with wild-type HSPCs for contribution to hematopoiesis. Def6-/- HSPCs show wild type-like reconstitution potential under the same transplantation conditions. DKO HSPCs reconstituted to only 25% of wild-type levels, indicating a partial rescue by DEF6 deficiency in the Swap-70-/- background. Our study reveals the two SWEF proteins as important contributors to HSPC biology. Despite their similarity these two proteins regulate HSC/progenitor homeostasis, self-renewal, lineage contributions and repopulation in a distinct and mostly antagonistic manner.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0161060
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


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