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Oncogene. 2001 Oct 29;20(49):7287-91.

Maturation sensitive and resistant t(15;17) NB4 cell lines as tools for APL physiopathology: nomenclature of cells and repertory of their known genetic alterations and phenotypes.

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INSERM U-496, Centre G. Hayem, Hôpital Saint-Louis, 1, avenue Claude-Vellefaux, 75010 Paris, France.


Chromosomal translocations, leading to gene rearrangements that generate chimerical proteins, represent one of the initiating events of leukemia. Preleukemia cells eventually develop into overt leukemia by occurrence of secondary genetic alterations (tumor progression). The physiopathology of leukemia has made considerable progress during the last two decades, due to molecular biology investigations on the role played by the altered genes, during neoplasic hemopoiesis. In vitro studies have been facilitated by the establishment of stable leukemia cell lines bearing these gene rearrangements and secondary gene mutations. Investigations on acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) have benefited from maturation sensitive and resistant cell lines (NB4 and UF-1) derived from APL patient's leukemia cells and bearing the t(15;17). The information concerning the NB4 cell line (responsiveness to retinoid/rexinoid, cAMP, arsenic, mutations causing resistance) is spread in an abundant literature. In this paper, we briefly recapitulate the cellular and molecular features of this cell line and its subclones with the aim of facilitating investigators in their choice of the most appropriate tool for their studies. As redundancy of several names given to NB4 sublines has sometimes created difficulties, we propose a nomenclature for the various NB4 sublines that most investigators certainly would be agreed with.

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