Hemogenic endothelium (HE) has been recognized as a source of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the embryo. Access to human HE progenitors (HEPs) is essential for enabling the investigation of the molecular determinants of HSC specification. Here, we show that HEPs capable of generating definitive hematopoietic cells can be obtained from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) and identified precisely by a VE-cadherin(+)CD73(-)CD235a/CD43(-) phenotype. This phenotype discriminates true HEPs from VE-cadherin(+)CD73(+) non-HEPs and VE-cadherin(+)CD235a(+)CD41a(-) early hematopoietic cells with endothelial and FGF2-dependent hematopoietic colony-forming potential. We found that HEPs arise at the post-primitive-streak stage of differentiation directly from VE-cadherin-negative KDR(bright)APLNR(+)PDGFRα(low/-) hematovascular mesodermal precursors (HVMPs). In contrast, hemangioblasts, which are capable of forming endothelium and primitive blood cells, originate from more immature APLNR(+)PDGFRα(+) mesoderm. The demarcation of HEPs and HVMPs provides a platform for modeling blood development from endothelium with a goal of facilitating the generation of HSCs from hPSCs.
Copyright © 2012 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.