International Journal of Hematology

DOI: 10.1007/s12185-018-2534-z Pages: 18-27

Metabolism as master of hematopoietic stem cell fate

1. Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research

2. Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Departments of Cell Biology and Medicine

3. Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Albert Einstein Cancer Center and Diabetes Research Center

Correspondence to:
Keisuke Ito



HSCs have a fate choice when they divide; they can self-renew, producing new HSCs, or produce daughter cells that will mature to become committed cells. Technical challenges, however, have long obscured the mechanics of these choices. Advances in flow-sorting have made possible the purification of HSC populations, but available HSC-enriched fractions still include substantial heterogeneity, and single HSCs have proven extremely difficult to track and observe. Advances in single-cell approaches, however, have led to the identification of a highly purified population of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that make a critical contribution to hematopoietic homeostasis through a preference for self-renewing division. Metabolic cues are key regulators of this cell fate choice, and the importance of controlling the population and quality of mitochondria has recently been highlighted to maintain the equilibrium of HSC populations. Leukemic cells also demand tightly regulated metabolism, and shifting the division balance of leukemic cells toward commitment has been considered as a promising therapeutic strategy. A deeper understanding of precisely how specific modes of metabolism control HSC fate is, therefore, of great biological interest, and more importantly will be critical to the development of new therapeutic strategies that target HSC division balance for the treatment of hematological disease.

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