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J Cell Biochem. 1992 Nov;50(3):255-65.

Activin A-induced differentiation in K562 cells is associated with a transient hypophosphorylation of RB protein and the concomitant block of cell cycle at G1 phase.

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Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037.


The human erythroleukemic cell line, K562, can be induced to differentiate by the addition of activin A, a newly purified protein belonging to the TGF-beta 1 family. The present studies used flow cytometric cell cycle analysis, indirect immunofluorescence staining of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), and thymidine incorporation assay of cell proliferation to study the effects of activin A on the cell cycle during differentiation in K562 cells. Activin A-treated K562 cells were found to undergo a transient block in cell cycle, temporarily halting progression from G1 to S phase. The latter can be observed after approximately 24 hr of incubation with activin A and then disappears after this early stage of induction of differentiation. Cell cycle kinetics analysis using synchronized K562 cells also confirms that in the presence of activin A, K562 cells progress normally through various phases of cell cycle, except that there is prolongation of the G1 phase between 10 to 24 hr of culture. Furthermore, this transient arrest in G1 is correlated with dephosphorylation of a nucleoprotein, the RB gene product, which occurs within 9-24 hr of incubation with activin A; and phosphorylation of RB protein then develops afterward. In addition, these cell cycle-related events are observed to occur earlier than the accumulation of hemoglobins in K562 cells. It is concluded that transient dephosphorylation of RB protein and prolongation of G1 phase of cell cycle precede and accompany erythroid differentiation caused by activin A and chemical inducers, thus constituting part of the mechanism for induction of differentiation in the erythroleukemia cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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