Intrinsic and extrinsic cues determine developmental trajectories of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) towards erythroid, myeloid and lymphoid lineages. Using two newly generated transgenic mice that report and trace the expression of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT), transient induction of TdT was detected on a newly identified multipotent progenitor (MPP) subset that lacked self-renewal capacity but maintained multilineage differentiation potential. TdT induction on MPPs reflected a transcriptionally dynamic but uncommitted stage, characterized by low expression of lineage-associated genes. Single-cell CITE-seq indicated that multipotency in the TdT+ MPPs is associated with expression of the endothelial cell adhesion molecule ESAM. Stable and progressive upregulation of TdT defined the lymphoid developmental trajectory. Collectively, we here identify a new multipotent progenitor within the MPP4 compartment. Specification and commitment are defined by downregulation of ESAM which marks the progressive loss of alternative fates along all lineages.
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