The AP-1 transcription factor JunB is a transcriptional regulator of myelopoiesis. Inactivation of JunB in postnatal mice results in a myeloproliferative disorder (MPD) resembling early human chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Here, we show that JunB regulates the numbers of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC). JunB overexpression decreases the frequency of long-term HSC (LT-HSC), while JunB inactivation specifically expands the numbers of LT-HSC and granulocyte/macrophage progenitors (GMP) resulting in chronic MPD. Further, we demonstrate that junB inactivation must take place in LT-HSC, and not at later stages of myelopoiesis, to induce MPD and that only junB-deficient LT-HSC are capable of transplanting the MPD to recipient mice. These results demonstrate a stem cell-specific role for JunB in normal and leukemic hematopoiesis and provide experimental evidence that leukemic stem cells (LSC) can reside at the LT-HSC stage of development in a mouse model of MPD.
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