Intra-hematopoietic cell fusion as a source of somatic variation in the hematopoietic system

Amy M. Skinner, Markus Grompe, Peter Kurre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Cell fusion plays a well-recognized, physiological role during development. Bone-marrow-derived hematopoietic cells have been shown to fuse with non-hematopoietic cells in a wide variety of tissues. Some organs appear to resolve the changes in ploidy status, generating functional and mitotically-competent events. However, cell fusion exclusively involving hematopoietic cells has not been reported. Indeed, genomic copy number variation in highly replicative hematopoietic cells is widely considered a hallmark of malignant transformation. Here we show that cell fusion occurs between cells of the hematopoietic system under injury as well as non-injury conditions. Experiments reveal the acquisition of genetic markers in fusion products, their tractable maintenance during hematopoietic differentiation and long-term persistence after serial transplantation. Fusion events were identified in clonogenic progenitors as well as differentiated myeloid and lymphoid cells. These observations provide a new experimental model for the study of non-pathogenic somatic diversity in the hematopoietic system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2837-2843
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cell Science
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 15 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Copy number variation
  • Intra-hematopoietic cell fusion
  • Somatic diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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