AbstractBACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: Human leukemic K562 cells are able to undergo erythroid differentiation in vitro when cultured with a variety of inducers, leading to increased expression of embryo-fetal globin genes such as the zita, epsilon and gamma-globin genes. Therefore the K562 cell line has been proposed as a very useful in vitro model system for determining the therapeutical potential of new differentiating compounds as well as for studying the molecular mechanism(s) that regulate changes in the expression of embryonic and fetal human globin genes. In this study we explored whether nucleoside triphosphates and related compounds are able to induce differentiation of K562 cells. METHODS: K562 cell differentiation was studied using the benzidine test; hemoglobins were characterized by cellulose acetate gel electrophoresis and mRNA accumulation was investigated by Northern blot analysis. RESULTS: The main conclusion of this paper is that guanine, guanosine and guanine ribonucleotides are effective inducers of K562 cell differentiation. Expression of both Hb Portland and Hb Gower 1 is increased in GTP-induced K562 cells. This increase is associated with greater gamma-globin mRNA accumulation. By contrast, ATP, CTP and UTP are not able to induce erythroid differentiation. INTERPRETATION AND CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that guanine, guanosine and guanine ribonucleotides are inducers of erythroid differentiation of K562 cells. This is of some relevance since differentiating compounds have been proposed as antitumor agents. In addition, inducers of erythroid differentiation that stimulate gamma-globin synthesis might be considered in the experimental therapy of hematological diseases associated with a failure in the expression of adult beta-globin genes.
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Vol. 82 No. 4 (1997): July, 1997 : Articles
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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