PNAS 2002 99(24):15468-15473. Published: 2002.11.25
Chang-Zheng Chen, Min Li, David de Graaf, Stefano Monti, Berthold Gottgens, Maria-Jose Sanchez, Eric S. Lander, Todd R. Golub, Anthony R. Green and Harvey F. LodishRead Manuscript
We describe a strategy to obtain highly enriched long-term repopulating (LTR) hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from bone marrow side-population (SP) cells by using a transgenic reporter gene driven by a stem cell enhancer. To analyze the gene-expression profile of the rare HSC population, we developed an amplification protocol termed "constant-ratio PCR," in which sample and control cDNAs are amplified in the same PCR. This protocol allowed us to identify genes differentially expressed in the enriched LTR-HSC population by oligonucleotide microarray analysis using as little as 1 ng of total RNA. Endoglin, an ancillary transforming growth factor beta receptor, was differentially expressed by the enriched HSCs. Importantly, endoglin-positive cells, which account for 20% of total SP cells, contain all the LTR-HSC activity within bone marrow SP. Our results demonstrate that endoglin, which plays important roles in angiogenesis and hematopoiesis, is a functional marker that defines LTR HSCs. Our overall strategy may be applicable for the identification of markers for other tissue-specific stem cells.