The hemopoietic growth factor interleukin 3 (IL-3) supports the survival and proliferation of multipotent and committed progenitor cells in vitro. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms triggered by IL-3 we studied the expression of cell cycle-related genes in a recently established human IL-3-dependent clone (M-07e). No changes in the level of expression of early (c-myc), mid (ornithine decarboxylase), or mid-late G1 (p53, c-myb) cell cycle genes were detected after restoration of IL-3 in deprived cells. The fact that only late G1-S-phase genes [proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) thymidine kinase (TK), histone H3] are modulated by IL-3 suggests that this factor may control human cell proliferation by acting at the G1-S boundary.

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This work was supported by grants from the Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro and from Istituto Superiore de Sanità, Progetto AIDS 1989/1990. M. F. B. is a fellow of Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro.

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