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Rare multipotent haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in adult bone marrow with extensive self-renewal potential can efficiently replenish all myeloid and lymphoid blood cells, securing long-term multilineage reconstitution after physiological and clinical challenges such as chemotherapy and haematopoietic transplantations. HSC transplantation remains the only curative treatment for many haematological malignancies, but inefficient blood-lineage replenishment remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality. Single-cell transplantation has uncovered considerable heterogeneity among reconstituting HSCs, a finding that is supported by studies of unperturbed haematopoiesis and may reflect different propensities for lineage-fate decisions by distinct myeloid-, lymphoid- and platelet-biased HSCs. Other studies suggested that such lineage bias might reflect generation of unipotent or oligopotent self-renewing progenitors within the phenotypic HSC compartment, and implicated uncoupling of the defining HSC properties of self-renewal and multipotency. Here we use highly sensitive tracking of progenitors and mature cells of the megakaryocyte/platelet, erythroid, myeloid and B and T cell lineages, produced from singly transplanted HSCs, to reveal a highly organized, predictable and stable framework for lineage-restricted fates of long-term self-renewing HSCs. Most notably, a distinct class of HSCs adopts a fate towards effective and stable replenishment of a megakaryocyte/platelet-lineage tree but not of other blood cell lineages, despite sustained multipotency. No HSCs contribute exclusively to any other single blood-cell lineage. Single multipotent HSCs can also fully restrict towards simultaneous replenishment of megakaryocyte, erythroid and myeloid lineages without executing their sustained lymphoid lineage potential. Genetic lineage-tracing analysis also provides evidence for an important role of platelet-biased HSCs in unperturbed adult haematopoiesis. These findings uncover a limited repertoire of distinct HSC subsets, defined by a predictable and hierarchical propensity to adopt a fate towards replenishment of a restricted set of blood lineages, before loss of self-renewal and multipotency.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





106 - 111


Animals, Antigens, CD34, B-Lymphocytes, Blood Platelets, CD48 Antigen, Cell Lineage, Cell Self Renewal, Erythroid Cells, Female, Hematopoiesis, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Male, Megakaryocytes, Mice, Multipotent Stem Cells, Myeloid Cells, Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1, T-Lymphocytes