Regulation of stem and progenitor cell populations is critical in the development, maintenance, and regeneration of tissues. Here, we define a novel mechanism by which a niche-secreted RNase, angiogenin (ANG), distinctively alters the functional characteristics of primitive hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) compared with lineage-committed myeloid-restricted progenitor (MyePro) cells. Specifically, ANG reduces the proliferative capacity of HSPC while simultaneously increasing proliferation of MyePro cells. Mechanistically, ANG induces cell-type-specific RNA-processing events: tRNA-derived stress-induced small RNA (tiRNA) generation in HSPCs and rRNA induction in MyePro cells, leading to respective reduction and increase in protein synthesis. Recombinant ANG protein improves survival of irradiated animals and enhances hematopoietic regeneration of mouse and human HSPCs in transplantation. Thus, ANG plays a non-cell-autonomous role in regulation of hematopoiesis by simultaneously preserving HSPC stemness and promoting MyePro proliferation. These cell-type-specific functions of ANG suggest considerable therapeutic potential.
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