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Leuk Res. 1997 Jul;21(7):595-601.

Expression of tie receptor tyrosine kinase in human leukemia cell lines.

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  • 1DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, Department of Human and Animal Cell Cultures, Braunschweig, Germany.


The tie gene encodes a receptor tyrosine kinase that together with its thus far unidentified ligand appears to play a distinct role in the regulatory pathway of early hematopoiesis and angiogenesis. Here, we attempted to define the possible involvement of tie in the pathobiology of hematopoietic malignancies by examining tie mRNA expression in human leukemia and lymphoma cells. We used a large panel of 93 well-characterized human continuous leukemia-lymphoma cell lines as model systems for the various hematopoietic cell lineages. At the Northern blot level, none of the 27 lymphoid leukemia or lymphoma-derived cell lines (originating from four B-precursor leukemia, four B-cell leukemia, four B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, two myeloma, two Burkitt lymphoma, four T-cell leukemia, five Hodgkin lymphoma, two anaplastic large cell lymphoma) tested expressed tie transcripts, whereas 23/42 (55%) of the myeloid cell lines analyzed expressed tie mRNA: in detail, 15 of 20 (75%) megakaryocytic, five of 11 (45%) erythroid, three of seven (43%) myelocytic and none of four monocytic cell lines were tie mRNA positive. In the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction analysis, which can detect very low levels of mRNA expression, all 12 myeloid cell lines and 19 of 39 (48%) lymphoid cell lines were positive. In experiments aimed at inducing cellular differentiation over an incubation period of 4 days, the phorbol ester PMA strongly enhanced tie mRNA expression in one erythroid and in one myelocytic cell line, but (like thrombopoietin) down-regulated tie mRNA expression in two megakaryocytic cell lines. Taken together these results indicate that tie is predominantly expressed in leukemia cells derived from the myeloid cell lineages (and here in particular in megakaryoblastic cells) and not in lymphoid leukemia cells. These observations provide some evidence for the hypothesis that tie is a receptor for a regulatory factor involved in normal and plausibly also leukemic hematopoiesis.

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