Granulocytic maturation of HL-60 promyelocytic leukemia cells induced by dimethylsulfoxide has been shown to produce a decrease in cellular protein phosphotyrosine residues and increases in both tyrosine kinase and protein phosphotyrosine phosphatase activities (D. A. Frank and A. C. Sartorelli, Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 140: 440–447, 1986). These changes have been shown to not be restricted to dimethylsulfoxide-induced differentiation, since similar changes occur in HL-60 cells initiated with retinoic acid and in HL-60 sublines resistant to dimethylsulfoxide-induced differentiation treated with the retinoid. These regulatory events are not directly coupled to growth arrest, which accompanies terminal maturation, since the anthracycline antibiotics aclacinomycin A and marcellomycin, which induce HL-60 differentiation, cause these changes in phosphotyrosine metabolism, which Adriamycin, at a level which produces an equivalent degree of growth inhibition but does not initiate the maturation of HL-60 cells, does not. Furthermore, an HL-60 subline deficient in hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase, which differentiates in the presence of 6-thioguanine, produced a decrease in phosphotyrosine residues and increases in tyrosine kinase and phosphotyrosine phosphatase activities in response to the purine antimetabolite, while the parental HL-60 line, in which 6-thioguanine inhibits cellular proliferation but does not induce maturation, does not exhibit these changes. Finally, similar alterations in phosphotyrosine regulation were exhibited during anthracycline-induced differentiation of the murine myelomonocytic leukemia cell line WEHI-3B D+, supporting the concept that the phenomena measured represent a general response to inducers of the granulocytic differentiation of leukemia cells.


Supported in part by USPHS Grant CA-02817 from the National Cancer Institute.

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