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Blood. 1987 Oct;70(4):989-93.

Isolation of lactoferrin cDNA from a human myeloid library and expression of mRNA during normal and leukemic myelopoiesis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Lactoferrin is a major constituent of polymorphonuclear leukocyte granules and is present in mature neutrophils but not in blasts or promyelocytes. We have isolated a cDNA probe for lactoferrin and used it to study the synthesis of lactoferrin mRNA by normal and leukemic granulocyte precursors. The probe pHL-41 has been subcloned in phage m13 and characterized by restriction endonuclease analysis and nucleic acid sequencing. pHL-41 contains approximately 40% of the coding sequence of the lactoferrin gene. The 3' untranslated region includes a stop codon and a possible polyadenylation signal. There is a greater than 98% agreement between the cDNA-deduced amino acid sequence and that determined by analysis of the protein. Myeloid cells from normal bone marrow and circulating leukocytes from patients with chronic granulocytic leukemia contain lactoferrin mRNA transcripts that are indistinguishable in size and relative quantity. The human promyelocytic leukemia cell line HL-60 contains no lactoferrin mRNA. Induction of monocytic or granulocytic differentiation fails to induce the synthesis of detectable lactoferrin message. Similarly, studies with the human myeloblastic leukemia cell line PLB-985 reveal the inability of these cells to produce lactoferrin mRNA even under conditions that bring about morphologically demonstrable granulocytic differentiation. These data suggest that granulocytic differentiation in the leukemic cell lines is incomplete or defective. The presence of lactoferrin may play a role in the orderly expression of the genetic program leading to the development of the normal mature granulocyte.

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