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The de novo generation of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) occurs solely during embryogenesis from a population of epithelial cells called hemogenic endothelium (HE). During midgestation HE cells in multiple intra- and extraembryonic vascular beds leave the vessel wall as they transition into HSPCs in a process termed the endothelial to hematopoietic transition (EHT). Runx1 expression in HE cells orchestrates the transcriptional switch necessary for the transdifferentiation of endothelial cells into functional HSPCs. Runx1 is widely considered the master regulator of developmental hematopoiesis because it plays an essential function during specification of the hematopoietic lineage during embryogenesis. Here we review the role of Runx1 in embryonic HSPC formation, with a particular focus on its role in hemogenic endothelium.

Original publication





Publication Date





47 - 64


Hematopoiesis, Hematopoietic stem cell, Hemogenic endothelium, Runx1, Animals, Blood Cells, Cell Transdifferentiation, Core Binding Factor Alpha 2 Subunit, Embryonic Development, Embryonic Stem Cells, Endothelium, Vascular, Hemangioblasts, Hematopoiesis, Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Stem Cells