PDCD2 controls hematopoietic stem cell differentiation during development

Stem Cells Dev. 2013 Jan 1;22(1):58-72. doi: 10.1089/scd.2012.0074. Epub 2012 Aug 16.


Programmed cell death 2 (Pdcd2) is a highly conserved protein of undefined function, and is widely expressed in embryonic and adult tissues. The observations that knockout of Pdcd2 in the mouse is embryonic lethal at preimplantation stages, and that in Drosophila, Zfrp8, the ortholog of Pdcd2, is required for normal lymph gland development suggest that Pdcd2 is important for regulating hematopoietic development. Through genetic and functional studies, we investigated pdcd2 function during the zebrafish ontogeny. Knockdown of pdcd2 expression in zebrafish embryos resulted in defects in embryonic hematopoietic development. Loss of pdcd2 function caused increased expression of progenitor markers, and accumulation of erythroid progenitors during primitive hematopoiesis. Additionally, hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) failed to appear in the aorta-gonad mesonephros, and were not able to terminally differentiate or reconstitute hematopoiesis. Pdcd2 effects on HSC emergence were cell autonomous and P53-independent, and loss of pdcd2 function was associated with mitotic defects and apoptosis. Restoration of runx1 function(s) and modulation of apoptosis through the inhibition of Jak/Stat signaling rescued the hematopoietic and erythroid defects resulting from pdcd2 knockdown. Our studies suggest that pdcd2 plays a critical role in regulating the transcriptional hierarchy controlling hematopoietic lineage determination. Furthermore, the effects of pdcd2 in regulating mitotic cell death may contribute to its role(s) in directing hematopoietic differentiation during development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / genetics
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism*
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / physiology
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit / genetics
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit / metabolism
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / blood supply
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Erythroid Cells / metabolism
  • Erythropoiesis
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mitosis
  • Morpholinos / genetics
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Organ Specificity
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism
  • Zebrafish
  • Zebrafish Proteins / genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins / metabolism*
  • Zebrafish Proteins / physiology


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit
  • Morpholinos
  • Transcription Factors
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Zebrafish Proteins
  • pdcd2 protein, zebrafish
  • runx1 protein, zebrafish