Ncor2 is required for hematopoietic stem cell emergence by inhibiting Fos signaling in zebrafish

Yonglong Wei, Dongyuan Ma, Ya Gao, Chunxia Zhang, Lu Wang and Feng Liu

Key points

  • Ncor2 is essential for HSC emergence in zebrafish.

  • Ncor2 inhibits Fos-Vegfd signaling through recruitment of Hdac3.


Nuclear receptor co-repressors (Ncor) are important for developmental and homeostatic processes in vertebrates, which exert transcriptional repression by coordinating with histone deacetylases (Hdac). However, little is known about their roles in definitive hematopoiesis. Here, we show that, in zebrafish, ncor2 is required for hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) development by repressing fos-vegfd signaling. ncor2 is specifically expressed in the aorta-gonad-mesonephros (AGM) region in zebrafish embryos. ncor2 deficiency reduced the population of both HSCs in the AGM region and T cells in the thymus. Mechanistically, ncor2 knockdown upregulated fos transcription by modulating the acetylation level in the fos promoter region, which then enhanced Vegfd signaling. Consequently, the augmented Vegfd signaling induced Notch signaling to promote the arterial endothelial fate, therefore possibly repressing the hemogenic endothelial specification which is a prerequisite for HSC emergence. Thus, our findings identify a novel regulatory mechanism for Ncor2 through Fos-Vegfd-Notch signaling cascade during HSC development in zebrafish embryos.

  • Submitted November 27, 2013.
  • Accepted June 26, 2014.