Hematopoietic Stem Cell Niches Produce Lineage-Instructive Signals to Control Multipotent Progenitor Differentiation

Ana Cordeiro Gomes, Takahiro Hara, Vivian Y. Lim, Dietmar Herndler-Brandstetter, Erin Nevius, Tatsuki Sugiyama, Shizue Tani-ichi, Susan M Schlenner, , Ellen Richie, Hans-Reimer Rodewald, Richard A. Flavell, Takashi Nagasawa, Koichi Ikuta, João Pedro Pereira

Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) self-renew in bone marrow niches formed by mesenchymal progenitors and endothelial cells expressing the chemokine CXCL12, but whether a separate niche instructs multipotent progenitor (MPP) differentiation remains unclear. We show that MPPs resided in HSC niches, where they encountered lineage-instructive differentiation signals. Conditional deletion of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 in MPPs reduced differentiation into common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs), which decreased lymphopoiesis. CXCR4 was required for CLP positioning near Interleukin-7⁺ (IL-7) cells and for optimal IL-7 receptor signaling. IL-7⁺ cells expressed CXCL12 and the cytokine SCF, were mesenchymal progenitors capable of differentiation into osteoblasts and adipocytes, and comprised a minor subset of sinusoidal endothelial cells. Conditional Il7 deletion in mesenchymal progenitors reduced B-lineage committed CLPs, while conditional Cxcl12 or Scf deletion from IL-7⁺ cells reduced HSC and MPP numbers. Thus, HSC maintenance and multilineage differentiation are distinct cell lineage decisions that are both controlled by HSC niches.