Characterization of the role of angiopoietin-tie signalling in haematopoietic stem cell development in the murine embryo
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Embargo end date31/12/2100
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Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are capable of self-renewing and multi-lineage reconstitution of the haematopoietic system of irradiated recipient mice. In the mouse embryo, HSCs originate in a step-wise manner from the haematogenic endothelium. The first HSC precursor has been detected at E9.5 in the dorsal aorta, while HSCs emerge in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region around E11. To date, the molecular mechanisms regulating these events are poorly characterized. Through the activating role of Angiopoietin1 (Ang1) on Tie2 receptor, the Ang-Tie signalling pathway plays a critical role in HSC maintenance in the adult bone marrow niche. Tie2 ligand Angiopoietin2 (Ang2) is described as being a Tie2 inhibitor, however its role is unknown. The aim of this thesis was to characterise the role of Ang-Tie signalling pathway in HSC formation in the mouse embryo. First, I used an ex vivo aggregate system to culture with angiopoietins cells derived from the AGM region at stages of development preceding HSC formation (E9.5-E11). Ang2- treated cells were able to reconstitute the peripheral blood of recipient mice to a higher extent compared to control, indicating a role for Ang2 in promoting HSC maturation. Then, I characterized the expression pattern of Ang-Tie molecules in the AGM region. Ang2-expressing cells were identified as perivascular and sub-aortic mesenchymal cells located in the ventral side of the aorta and in proximity of intra-aortic haematopoietic clusters. Finally, I performed an RNA-seq analysis with the aim of unravelling the molecular mechanisms involved in Ang2-mediated HSC maturation. Pre-HSC-I were cultured in presence or absence of Ang2 and their transcriptional profiles were compared, revealing a number of genes and pathways up-regulated or down-regulated in presence of Ang2, which might indicate a role for Ang2 in increasing cell proliferation, favouring cell migration, and regulation of other signalling pathways involved in HSC development. All together, these data support Ang2 as a novel regulator for HSC formation.