Coexpression of CD71 and CD117 Identifies an Early Unipotent Neutrophil Progenitor Population in Human Bone Marrow

Immunity. 2020 Aug 18;53(2):319-334.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2020.07.017.


Neutrophils are the most abundant peripheral immune cells and thus, are continually replenished by bone marrow-derived progenitors. Still, how newly identified neutrophil subsets fit into the bone marrow neutrophil lineage remains unclear. Here, we use mass cytometry to show that two recently defined human neutrophil progenitor populations contain a homogeneous progenitor subset we term "early neutrophil progenitors" (eNePs) (Lin-CD66b+CD117+CD71+). Surface marker- and RNA-expression analyses, together with in vitro colony formation and in vivo adoptive humanized mouse transfers, indicate that eNePs are the earliest human neutrophil progenitors. Furthermore, we identified CD71 as a marker associated with the earliest neutrophil developmental stages. Expression of CD71 marks proliferating neutrophils, which were expanded in the blood of melanoma patients and detectable in blood and tumors from lung cancer patients. In summary, we establish CD117+CD71+ eNeP as the inceptive human neutrophil progenitor and propose a refined model of the neutrophil developmental lineage in bone marrow.

Keywords: CD71; bone marrow; cancer; neutrophil development; neutrophil progenitors; neutrophils; promyelocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / metabolism*
  • Bone Marrow / metabolism
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Melanoma / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Myeloid Progenitor Cells / cytology
  • Myeloid Progenitor Cells / metabolism*
  • Neutrophils / cytology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Transferrin / metabolism*


  • Antigens, CD
  • CD71 antigen
  • Receptors, Transferrin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-kit