Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Major Professor

William G. Kerr, Ph.D.


Embryonic stem cell, Hematopoietic stem cell, NK cells, Megakaryocytes, Hematopoiesis, S-SHIP


The principal isoform of Src homology (SH) 2-domain containing 5' inositol phosphatase protein 1 (SHIP) is a 145kDa protein primarily expressed by cells of the hematopoietic compartment. The enzymatic activity of SHIP is responsible for hydrolyzing the 5' phosphate of phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate (PI(3,4,5)P3), and thereby preventing the recruitment of pleckstrin homology domain containing effector proteins. Furthermore, SHIP contains protein-protein interaction domains, such as an SH2 domain, two NPXY and several proline-rich motifs. All of these different domains endow SHIP with the capacity to impact signaling pathways important for proliferation, survival, differentiation and activation. Therefore, we hypothesized that SHIP-deficiency could result in the loss of hematopoietic cell homeostasis and functionTo this verify this hypothesis, we first studied the effect of SHIP ablation on hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) proliferation, survival, function and hom

ing. Most interestingly we observed that SHIP impacts HSC homeostasis and their ability to home appropriately to the bone marrow. Then, since SHIP was shown to be activated after engagement of the c-mpl receptor by its ligand, thrombopoietin, we studied the impact of SHIP deletion on the function of megakaryocytes, the major target cell of that cytokine. We found that SHIP is also important for homeostasis of the megakaryocyte compartment. Thirdly, we studied the role of SHIP in natural killer (NK) cells biology. We observed that F4 generation SHIP-/- mice have increased NK cells in their spleen and that these cells exhibit a disrupted receptor repertoire. We verified the hypothesis that SHIP helps shape the receptor repertoire of NK cells, mainly through regulation of cell survival and proliferation. Also included, is a study on the role of a SHIP isoform lacking the SH2-domain, called stem cell-SHIP (s-SHIP) in the biology of embryonic stem (ES) cells. To date, this isoform i

s expressed by stem/progenitor cells and not by normal differentiated cells. Due to its specific expression pattern, s-SHIP has the potential to have an important role in stem cell biology.