MJ Delás, BT Jackson, T Kovacevic, S Vangelisti, E Munera Maravilla, SA Wild, EM Stork, N Erard, SRV Knott, GJ Hannon
Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) show patterns of tissue- and cell type-specific expression that are very similar to those of protein coding genes and consequently have the potential to control stem and progenitor cell fate decisions along a differentiation trajectory. To understand the roles that lncRNAs may play in hematopoiesis, we selected a subset of mouse lncRNAs with potentially relevant expression patterns and refined our candidate list using evidence of conserved expression in human blood lineages. For each candidate, we assessed its possible role in hematopoietic differentiation in vivo using competitive transplantation. Our studies identified two lncRNAs that were required for hematopoiesis. One of these, Spehd, showed defective multilineage differentiation, and its silencing yielded common myeloid progenitors that are deficient in their oxidative phosphorylation pathway. This effort not only suggests that lncRNAs can contribute to differentiation decisions during hematopoiesis but also provides a path toward the identification of functional lncRNAs in other differentiation hierarchies.