Knock-out of Hopx disrupts stemness and quiescence of hematopoietic stem cells in mice

Chien Chin Lin, Chi Yuan Yao, Yueh Chwen Hsu, Hsin An Hou, Chang Tsu Yuan, Yi Hung Li, Chein Jun Kao, Po Han Chuang, Yu Chiao Chiu, Yidong Chen, Wen Chien Chou, Hwei Fang Tien

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Scopus citations


    HOPX is a stem cell marker in hair follicles and intestines. It was shown critical for primitive hematopoiesis. We previously showed an association between higher HOPX expression and clinical characteristics related to stemness and quiescence of leukemic cells in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. To further explore its physiologic functions in hematopoietic system, we generated a mouse model with hematopoietic cell-specific knockout of Hopx (Hopx−/−). In young Hopx−/− mice, the hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) showed decreased reconstitution ability after serial transplantation. Further transcriptomic study revealed decreased HSC signatures in long-term HSCs from the Hopx−/− mice. At 18 months of age, half of the Hopx−/− mice developed cytopenia and splenomegaly. Bone marrow (BM) from the sick mice showed myeloid hyperplasia with predominant mature neutrophils, and decreased progenitor cells and lymphocytes. These phenotypes suggested critical functions of Hopx in maintaining HSC quiescence. Transcriptomic study of the Hopx−/− marrow cells showed significant downregulation of the Cxcl12-Cxcr4 axis, which is critical for maintenance of HSC quiescence. We next examined the role of Hopx in AML by using the MN1 overexpression murine leukemia model. Mice transplanted with MN1-overexpressed Hopx−/− BM cells developed AML with more aggressive phenotypes compared with those transplanted with MN1-overexpressed Hopx-wild cells. Hopx−/−MN1-overexpressed leukemia cells showed higher proliferation rate and downregulation of Cxcl12 and Cxcr4. Furthermore, in human AML, BM plasma CXCL12 levels were lower in patients with lower HOPX expression. In conclusion, our study highlights the roles of Hopx in maintenance of quiescence of the hematopoietic stem cells through CXCL12 pathway in vivo and provides implication of this protein in normal and malignant hematopoiesis.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)5112-5123
    Number of pages12
    Issue number28
    StatePublished - Jul 9 2020

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Genetics
    • Molecular Biology
    • Cancer Research


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