CD11c regulates hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells under stress. Blood Adv 4, 24, 6086-6097 (2020).Abstract
β2 integrins are well-known leukocyte adhesion molecules consisting of 4 members: CD11a-d. Their known biological functions range widely from leukocyte recruitment, phagocytosis, to immunological synapse formation, but the studies have been primarily focused on CD11a and CD11b. CD11c is 1 of the 4 members and is extremely homologous to CD11b. It has been well known as a dendritic cell marker, but the characterization of its function has been limited. We found that CD11c was expressed on the short-term hematopoietic stem cells and multipotent progenitor cells. The lack of CD11c did not affect the number of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) in healthy CD11c knockout mice. Different from other β2 integrin members, however, CD11c deficiency was associated with increased apoptosis and significant loss of HSPCs in sepsis and bone marrow transplantation. Although integrins are generally known for their overlapping and redundant roles, we showed that CD11c had a distinct role of regulating the expansion of HSPCs under stress. This study shows that CD11c, a well-known dendritic cell marker, is expressed on HSPCs and serves as their functional regulator. CD11c deficiency leads to the loss of HSPCs via apoptosis in sepsis and bone marrow transplantation.