The regulation of the pleiotropic capabilities of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) to self-renew while maintaining hematopoietic homeostasis in vertebrates is not well understood. Post-transcriptional modulators are recently highlighted as arbiters for hematopoietic self-renewal and cell fate decisions. We hypothesize that the "Musashi" genes MSI1 and MSI2 regulate hematopoietic stem cell function, and when dysregulated contribute to stem cell disorders. MSI1 and MSI2 are closely related RNA-binding proteins that influence cell fate determination in neuronal development by modulating Notch signaling. Preliminary data indicate that MSI family members play an important role in hematopoietic stem and progenitor development. The research described in this 5-year proposal outlines specific aims designed to investigate the in vivo effects of loss and gain of function of Msi genes. This proposal creates two novel tools to study Msi function: (1) a conditional knockouts for the Msi family (2) a knockin tet-inducible system for the Msi family. These two powerful systems will examine the specific role for Msi in hematopoiesis and stem cell function.
The Specific Aim 1 will utilize genetic strategies to assess loss of function of Msi in the murine hematopoietic system.
Specific Aim 2 will assess the role of Msi dysregulation through use of inducible overexpression of MSI1 or MSI2. Expression of an inducible promoter provides distinct advantages over the retroviral transplant models where differences in expression levels may influence biological effects and avoids possible artifacts from retroviral integrations.
Aim 3 will focus on mechanisms and targets of Musashi that enable its regulatory function in the HSC compartment and in myeloid differentiation. More specifically, Notch and beta-catenin signaling is central to maintaining proper differentiation in the blood. Finally, this proposal application will provide insights into Msi regulation of these vital developmental pathways in the context of hemotopoietic stem cell function.
Stem cell disorders comprise a large group of myelodysplastic syndromes, inherited and acquired bone failure syndromes such as aplastic anemias. This proposal will provide enhanced understanding of regulators of stem cell function and may identify novel therapeutic targets for stem cell diseases.
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