Single-cell RNA sequencing highlights transcription activity of autophagy-related genes during hematopoietic stem cell formation in mouse embryos

Autophagy. 2017 Apr 3;13(4):770-771. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2016.1278093. Epub 2017 Jan 27.


Accumulating evidence has demonstrated that macroautophagy/autophagy plays an essential role in self-renewal and differentiation in embryonic hematopoiesis. Here, according to the RNA sequencing data sets of 5 population cells related to hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) formation during mouse embryogenesis (endothelial cells, PTPRC/CD45- and PTPRC/CD45+ pre-HSCs in the E11 aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region, mature HSCs in E12 and E14 fetal liver), we explored the dynamic expression of mouse autophagy-related genes in this course at the single-cell level. Our results revealed that the transcription activity of autophagy-related genes had a substantial increase when endothelial cells (ECs) specified into pre-HSCs, and the upregulation of autophagy-essential genes correlated with reduced NOTCH signaling in pre-HSCs, suggesting the autophagy activity may be greatly enhanced during pre-HSC specification from endothelial precursors. In summary, our results presented strong evidence that autophagy plays a critical role in HSC emergence during mouse midgestation.

Keywords: autophagy; hematopoiesis; hematopoietic stem cell; mouse embryos; single cell.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy / genetics*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / cytology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Essential
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, RNA / methods*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Single-Cell Analysis / methods*
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Up-Regulation / genetics


  • Receptors, Notch