Molecular mechanisms preserving hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) self-renewal by maintaining a balance between proliferation, differentiation, and other processes are not fully understood. Hyperactivation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway, causing sustained proliferative signals, can lead to exhaustion of HSC repopulating ability. We examined the role of the novel ras gene Rheb2, an activator of the mTOR kinase, in colony-forming ability, survival, and repopulation of immature mouse hematopoietic cells. In a cell line model of mouse hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs), we found enhanced proliferation and mTOR signaling in cells overexpressing Rheb2. In addition, overexpression of Rheb2 enhanced colony-forming ability and survival of primary mouse bone marrow HPCs. Expansion of phenotypic HSCs in vitro was enhanced by Rheb2 overexpression. Consistent with these findings, Rheb2 overexpression transiently expanded phenotypically defined immature hematopoietic cells after in vivo transplantation; however, these Rheb2-transduced cells were significantly impaired in overall repopulation of primary and secondary congenic transplantation recipients. Our findings suggest that HPCs and HSCs behave differently in response to growth-promoting signals stimulated by Rheb2. These results may have value in elucidating mechanisms controlling the balance between proliferation and repopulating ability, a finding of importance in clinical uses of HPCs/HSCs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology