Document Type


Publication Date



School of Pharmacy


Pharmaceutical Sciences


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) preserve their ability to self-renew and differentiate to different lineages in the bone marrow (BM) niche, which is composed in large part by BM stromal cells. Studies have shown that altered signaling in the BM niche results in leukemia initiation or progression. Fanconi anemia (FA) is an inherited BM failure syndrome associated with extremely high risk of leukemic transformation. By employing two FA mouse models, here we have investigated the hematopoiesis-supportive function of FA BM mesenchymal stroma cells (MSCs). We found that MSCs deficient for Fanca or Fancc gene are defective in proliferation and prone to undergo senescence in vitro. Mechanistically, we show that the activity of cell division control protein 42 (Cdc42), a Rho GTPase known to be a critical regulator for cytoskeleton organization, is significantly reduced in FA MSCs. Furthermore, we demonstrate that this reduction in Cdc42 activity plays a causal role in defective hematopoiesis-supportive function of the FA MSCs. The progenies of WT HSPCs co-cultured on FA MSCs exhibit compromised self-renewal capacity both in vitro and in vivo. Genetic correction of FA deficiency restores Cdc42 activity and improves hematopoiesis-supportive capacity of FA MSC. Finally, ectopic expression of a constitutively active Cdc42 mutant, Cdc42F28L, or pretreatment with Wnt5a, increases the active Cdc42 level and rescues the hematopoietic supportive defects of FA MSCs. Taken together, our results identify a novel link between Cdc42 activity and hematopoiesis-supportive function of MSCs and suggest that a niche-specific increase of Cdc42 activity may be beneficial for FA therapy.

Source Citation

Xu J, Li X, Cole A, Sherman Z, Du W. Reduced Cell Division Control Protein 42 Activity Compromises Hematopoiesis-Supportive Function of Fanconi Anemia Mesenchymal Stromal Cells. STEM CELLS. 2018;36(5):785-795. doi:10.1002/stem.2789