Definitive hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) arise from the transdifferentiation of hemogenic endothelial cells (hemECs). The mechanisms of this endothelial-to-hematopoietic transition (EHT) are poorly understood. We show that microRNA-223 (miR-223)-mediated regulation of N-glycan biosynthesis in endothelial cells (ECs) regulates EHT. miR-223 is enriched in hemECs and in oligopotent nascent HSPCs. miR-223 restricts the EHT of lymphoid-myeloid lineages by suppressing the mannosyltransferase alg2 and sialyltransferase st3gal2, two enzymes involved in protein N-glycosylation. ECs that lack miR-223 showed a decrease of high mannose versus sialylated sugars on N-glycoproteins such as the metalloprotease Adam10. EC-specific expression of an N-glycan Adam10 mutant or of the N-glycoenzymes phenocopied miR-223 mutant defects. Thus, the N-glycome is an intrinsic regulator of EHT, serving as a key determinant of the hematopoietic fate.
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