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Rare multipotent stem cells replenish millions of blood cells per second through a time-consuming process, passing through multiple stages of increasingly lineage-restricted progenitors. Although insults to the blood-forming system highlight the need for more rapid blood replenishment from stem cells, established models of hematopoiesis implicate only one mandatory differentiation pathway for each blood cell lineage. Here, we establish a nonhierarchical relationship between distinct stem cells that replenish all blood cell lineages and stem cells that replenish almost exclusively platelets, a lineage essential for hemostasis and with important roles in both the innate and adaptive immune systems. These distinct stem cells use cellularly, molecularly and functionally separate pathways for the replenishment of molecularly distinct megakaryocyte-restricted progenitors: a slower steady-state multipotent pathway and a fast-track emergency-activated platelet-restricted pathway. These findings provide a framework for enhancing platelet replenishment in settings in which slow recovery of platelets remains a major clinical challenge.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Immunol

Publication Date





1007 - 1019


Blood Platelets, Animals, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Mice, Cell Differentiation, Megakaryocytes, Cell Lineage, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Hematopoiesis, Thrombopoiesis, Mice, Knockout, Humans, Multipotent Stem Cells