Cbl and Cbl-b are tyrosine kinase-directed RING finger type ubiquitin ligases (E3s) that negatively regulate cellular activation pathways. E3 activity-disrupting human Cbl mutations are associated with myeloproliferative disorders (MPD) that are reproduced in mice with Cbl RING finger mutant knock-in or hematopoietic Cbl and Cbl-b double knockout. However, the role of Cbl proteins in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) homeostasis, especially in the context of MPD is unclear. Here we demonstrate that HSC expansion and MPD development upon combined Cbl and Cbl-b deletion are dependent on HSCs. Cell cycle analysis demonstrated that DKO HSCs exhibit reduced quiescence associated with compromised reconstitution ability and propensity to undergo exhaustion. We show that sustained c-Kit and FLT3 signaling in DKO HSCs promotes loss of colony-forming potential, and c-Kit or FLT3 inhibition in vitro protects HSCs from exhaustion. In vivo, treatment with 5-fluorouracil hastens DKO HSC exhaustion and protects mice from death due to MPD. Our data reveal a novel and leukemia therapy-relevant role of Cbl and Cbl-b in the maintenance of HSC quiescence and protection against exhaustion, through negative regulation of tyrosine kinase-coupled receptor signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10498-10509
Number of pages12
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2015


  • Cbl
  • HSC
  • Quiescence
  • Tyrosine kinase
  • Ubiquitin ligase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology

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