Hematopoietic stem cells maintain the development of all mature blood cells throughout life due to their sustained self-renewal capacity and multilineage differentiation potential. During development into specific cell lineages, the options of stem cells and multipotent progenitor cells become increasingly restricted concomitant with a successive decline in self-renewal potential. Here we describe an Flt3+CD11b+ multipotent progenitor that can be amplified in vitro with a specific combination of cytokines to yield homogeneous populations in high cell numbers. By employing gene expression profiling with DNA microarrays, we studied the transcription factor repertoire of Flt3+CD11b+ progenitors and related it to the transcription factor repertoire of hematopoietic stem cells and embryonic stem cells. We report here on overlapping and nonoverlapping expression patterns of transcription factors in these cells and thus provide novel insights into the dynamic networks of transcriptional regulators in embryonic and adult stem cells. Additionally, the results obtained open the perspective for elucidating lineage and 'stemness' determinants in hematopoiesis.
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