Changes in proto-oncogene expression associated with reversal of macrophage-like differentiation of HL 60 cells

G. P. Studzinski, Z. S. Brelvi

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Prolonged exposure to 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25(OH)2D3] of 2 sublines (AB-2 and AB-26) of human promyelocytic HL 60 leukemia cells produced increased adherence of the cells to the culture substratum. Advantage was taken of this property to separate physically a population of cells highly enriched in macrophage-like forms. When these differentiated cells were placed in culture medium free of 1,25(OH)2D3, there was a rapid reversal of the features of the differentiated phenotype, monitored by the loss of α-naphthyl butyrate esterase activity and the loss of adherence to the substrate. The reversal was accompanied by the resumption of normal rates of DNA synthesis, mitosis, and reaccumulation of c-myc and c-myb transcripts. The levels of transcripts of oncogenes c-fos and c-fms, which became abundant in the phenotypically differentiated cultures, declined along with the loss of adhesiveness and reversion to more primitive myeloblastic forms. These changes in proto-oncogene expression became evident before cell proliferation resumed, thereby excluding the diluting effect of the outgrowth of undifferentiated cells. It is concluded that in this system there is no firm commitment to terminal, as opposed to early, differentiation in the great majority of the cells and that the expression of the monocytic maturation-associated genes c-fos and c-fms is down-regulated when macrophage-like cells dedifferentiate. This strengthens the case for a association between macrophage differentiation and the expression of oncogenes c-fos and c-fms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-76
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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