The low frequency of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) in human BM has precluded analysis of the direct biochemical effects elicited by cytokines in these populations, and their functional consequences. Here, single-cell phospho-specific flow cytometry was used to define the signaling networks active in 5 previously defined human HSPC subsets. This analysis revealed that the currently defined HSC compartment is composed of biochemically distinct subsets with the ability to respond rapidly and directly in vitro to a broader array of cytokines than previously appreciated, including G-CSF. The G-CSF response was physiologically relevant—driving cell-cycle entry and increased proliferation in a subset of single cells within the HSC compartment. The heterogeneity in the single-cell signaling and proliferation responses prompted subfractionation of the adult BM HSC compartment by expression of CD114 (G-CSF receptor). Xenotransplantation assays revealed that HSC activity is significantly enriched in the CD114neg/lo compartment, and almost completely absent in the CD114pos subfraction. The single-cell analyses used here can be adapted for further refinement of HSPC surface immunophenotypes, and for examining the direct regulatory effects of other factors on the homeostasis of stem and progenitor populations in normal or diseased states
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