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Int J Hematol. 2001 Jan;73(1):78-83.

A functional role of mitogen-activated protein kinases, erk1 and erk2, in the differentiation of a human leukemia cell line, UT-7/GM: a possible key factor for cell fate determination toward erythroid and megakaryocytic lineages.

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Department of Hematology, Jichi Medical School, Tochigi, Japan.


The mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade is a key regulator of mammalian cell proliferation and differentiation. In this study, we examined the roles of 2 members of the MAP kinase family, extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 (Erk1) and Erk2, in erythropoietin (EPO)-induced erythroid differentiation and thrombopoietin (TPO)-induced megakaryocytic differentiation. UT-7/GM was used as a model system because this cell line is an erythroid/megakaryocytic bipotent cell line that can be induced to differentiate into the erythroid and megakaryocytic lineages by EPO and TPO, respectively. The kinetics of activation of Erk1 and Erk2 were examined during erythroid and megakaryocytic differentiation of UT-7/GM cells. EPO induced a transient activation of these kinases, peaking after 1 minute of stimulation and then declining quickly almost to the basal level. In contrast, TPO-induced activation of the kinases peaked at 10 minutes and persisted for up to 60 minutes, similar to the activation by granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor. The percentage of EPO-induced hemoglobin-positive cells was elevated by the addition of PD98059, a specific inhibitor of MEK1 (MAP kinase/ERK kinase 1). In contrast, PD98059 clearly reduced the amount of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antigens induced by TPO on UT-7/GM cells. Thus, inactivation of Erk1 and Erk2 kinases promoted EPO-induced erythroid differentiation and suppressed TPO-induced megakaryocytic differentiation of UT-7/GM cells. In conclusion, the activation of Erk1 and Erk2 kinases may be a critical event in the determination of cell fate and the differentiation processes of the erythroid and megakaryocytic lineages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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