Emergence of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells involves a Chd1-dependent increase in total nascent transcription.

Authors: Koh FM, Lizama CO, Wong P, Hawkins JS, Zovein AC, Ramalho-Santos M.

Reference: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Apr 7;112(14):E1734-43. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1424850112. Epub 2015 Mar 23.

PMID: 25831528

Abstract: Lineage specification during development involves reprogramming of transcriptional states, but little is known about how this is regulated in vivo. The chromatin remodeler chomodomain helicase DNA-binding protein 1 (Chd1) promotes an elevated transcriptional output in mouse embryonic stem cells. Here we report that endothelial-specific deletion of Chd1 leads to loss of definitive hematopoietic progenitors, anemia, and lethality by embryonic day (E)15.5. Mutant embryos contain normal numbers of E10.5 intraaortic hematopoietic clusters that express Runx1 and Kit, but these clusters undergo apoptosis and fail to mature into blood lineages in vivo and in vitro. Hematopoietic progenitors emerging from the aorta have an elevated transcriptional output relative to structural endothelium, and this elevation is Chd1-dependent. In contrast, hematopoietic-specific deletion of Chd1 using Vav-Cre has no apparent phenotype. Our results reveal a new paradigm of regulation of a developmental transition by elevation of global transcriptional output that is critical for hemogenesis and may play roles in other contexts.