MicroRNA-125b expands hematopoietic stem cells and enriches for the lymphoid-balanced and lymphoid-biased subsets

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Dec 14;107(50):21505-10. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016218107. Epub 2010 Nov 30.


MicroRNAs profoundly impact hematopoietic cells by regulating progenitor cell-fate decisions, as well as mature immune effector function. However to date, microRNAs that regulate hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) function have been less well characterized. Here we show that microRNA-125b (miR-125b) is highly expressed in HSCs and its expression decreases in committed progenitors. Overexpression of miR-125b in mouse HSC enhances their function, demonstrated through serial transplantation of highly purified HSC, and enriches for the previously described Slamf1(lo)CD34(-) lymphoid-balanced and the Slamf1(neg)CD34(-) lymphoid-biased cell subsets within the multipotent HSC (CD34-KLS) fraction. Mature peripheral blood cells derived from the miR-125b-overexpressing HSC are skewed toward the lymphoid lineage. Consistent with this observation, miR-125b overexpression significantly increases the number of early B-progenitor cells within the spleen and induces the expansion and enrichment of the lymphoid-balanced and lymphoid-biased HSC subset via an antiapoptotic mechanism, reducing the mRNA expression levels of two proapoptotic targets, Bmf and KLF13. The antiapoptotic effect of miR-125b is more pronounced in the lymphoid-biased HSC subset because of their intrinsic higher baseline levels of apoptosis. These effects of miR-125b are associated with the development of lymphoproliferative disease, marked by expansion of CD8(+) T lymphocytes. Taken together, these data reveal that miR-125b regulates HSC survival and can promote lymphoid-fate decisions at the level of the HSC by preferentially expanding lymphoid-balanced and lymphoid-biased HSC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / genetics
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism
  • Antigens, CD34 / genetics
  • Antigens, CD34 / metabolism
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Survival
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Subsets*
  • Lymphocytes / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1
  • Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Transplantation Chimera


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, CD34
  • MIRN125 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mirn125 microRNA, mouse
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • SLAMF1 protein, human
  • Slamf1 protein, mouse
  • Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Family Member 1