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Blood. 1987 May;69(5):1376-80.

Genetic expression of adenosine deaminase in human lymphoid malignancies.


Adenosine deaminase (ADA) is an enzyme in the purine catabolic pathway that has been used as an enzymatic marker of T cell lymphoblastic malignancies due to its high specific activity in thymocytes and immature T cells. We have investigated whether the level of ADA activity in lymphoid leukemic cells correlates with the amount of ADA-specific RNA and/or immunoreactive protein in these cells as an initial step toward characterizing the nature of the genetic regulation of ADA expression during differentiation. We have found a good correlation between the steady state levels of ADA-specific RNA and ADA-immunoreactive protein in T lymphoblastic leukemic cell lines, mature T cell lines, a B lymphoblast cell line, and leukemic cells directly isolated from four patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia and three patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Southern blot analysis of DNA from these cells shows no evidence for differences in ADA gene copy number or gene rearrangement to account for the variability in ADA expression. We conclude that levels of ADA in lymphoid leukemic cells are directly related to the amount of ADA-specific mRNA present. These findings imply that ADA expression in leukemic cells reflects either the transcriptional activity of the ADA gene or the stability of ADA mRNA in these cells.

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