Fanconi anemia (FA) is a human genetic disease characterized by a DNA repair defect and progressive bone marrow failure. Central events in the FA pathway are the monoubiquitination of the Fancd2 protein and the removal of ubiquitin by the deubiquitinating enzyme, Usp1. Here, we have investigated the role of Fancd2 and Usp1 in the maintenance and function of murine hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs). Bone marrow from Fancd2-/- mice and Usp1-/- mice exhibited marked hematopoietic defects. A decreased frequency of the HSC populations including Lin-Sca-1+Kit+ cells and cells enriched for dormant HSCs expressing signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (SLAM) markers, was observed in the bone marrow of Fancd2-deficient mice. In addition, bone marrow from Fancd2-/- mice contained significantly reduced frequencies of late-developing cobblestone area-forming cell activity in vitro compared to the bone marrow from wild-type mice. Furthermore, Fancd2-deficient and Usp1-deficient bone marrow had defective long-term in vivo repopulating ability. Collectively, our data reveal novel functions of Fancd2 and Usp1 in maintaining the bone marrow HSC compartment and suggest that FA pathway disruption may account for bone marrow failure in FA patients.
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