Hematopoietic and vascular development share many common features, including cell surface markers and sites of origin. Recent lineage-tracing studies have established that definitive hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells arise from vascular endothelial-cadherin+ hemogenic endothelial cells of the aorta-gonad-mesonephros region, but the genetic programs underlying the specification of hemogenic endothelial cells remain poorly defined. Here, we discovered that Notch induction enhances hematopoietic potential and promotes the specification of hemogenic endothelium in differentiating cultures of mouse embryonic stem cells, and we identified Foxc2 as a highly upregulated transcript in the hemogenic endothelial population. Studies in zebrafish and mouse embryos revealed that Foxc2 and its orthologs are required for the proper development of definitive hematopoiesis and function downstream of Notch signaling in the hemogenic endothelium. These data establish a pathway linking Notch signaling to Foxc2 in hemogenic endothelial cells to promote definitive hematopoiesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology