Hematopoiesis in teleost fish is maintained in the kidney. We previously reported that Hoechst dye efflux activity of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) is highly conserved in vertebrates, and that Hoechst can be used to purify HSCs from teleost kidneys. Regulatory molecules that are strongly associated with HSC activity may also be conserved in vertebrates. In this study, we identified evolutionarily conserved molecular components in HSCs by comparing the gene expression profiles of zebrafish, murine, and human HSCs. Microarray data of zebrafish kidney side population cells (zSPs) showed that genes involved in cell junction and signal transduction tended to be up-regulated in zSPs, whereas genes involved in DNA replication tended to be down-regulated. These properties of zSPs were similar to those of mammalian HSCs. Overlapping gene expression analysis showed that 40 genes were commonly up-regulated in these 3 HSCs. Some of these genes, such as egr1, gata2, and id1, have been previously implicated in the regulation of HSCs. In situ hybridization in zebrafish kidney revealed that expression domains of egr1, gata2, and id1 overlapped with that of abcg2a, a marker for zSPs. These results suggest that the overlapping genes identified in this study are regulated in HSCs and play important roles in their functions.
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