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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Oct 1;93(20):11236-41.

Inhibition of calmodulin-dependent phosphodiesterase induces apoptosis in human leukemic cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Connecticut Health Center, Farmington 06030, USA.


Cytosolic extracts from a human lymphoblastoid B-cell line, RPMI-8392, established from a patient with acute lymphocytic leukemia, contain two major forms of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase (PDE): Ca2+-calmodulin dependent PDE (PDE1) and cAMP-specific PDE (PDE4). In contrast, normal quiescent human peripheral blood lymphocytes (HPBL) are devoid of PDE1 activity [Epstein, P. M., Moraski, S., Jr., and Hachisu, R. (1987) Biochem. J. 243, 533-539]. Using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), we show that the mRNA encoding the 63-kDa form of PDE1 (PDE1B1) is expressed in RPMI-8392 cells, but not in normal, resting HPBL. This mRNA is, however, induced in HPBL following mitogenic stimulation by phytohemagglutinin (PHA). Also using RT-PCR, the full open reading frame for human PDE1B1 cDNA was cloned from RPMI-8392 cells and it encodes a protein of 536 amino acids with 96% identity to bovine, rat, and mouse species. RT-PCR also identifies the presence of PDE1B1 in other human lymphoblastoid and leukemic cell lines of B- (RPMI-1788, Daudi) and T-(MOLT-4, NA, Jurkat) cell origin. Inhibition of PDE1 or PDE4 activity by selective inhibitors induced RPMI-8392 cells, as well as the other cell lines, to undergo apoptosis. Culture of RPMI-8392 cells with an 18-bp phosphorothioate antisense oligodeoxynucleotide, targeted against the translation initiation region of the RPMI-8392 mRNA, led to a specific reduction in the amount of PDE1B1 mRNA after 1 day, and its disappearance after 2 days, and induced apoptosis in these cells in a sequence specific manner. This suggests that PDEs, particularly PDE1B1, because its expression is selective, may be useful targets for inducing the death of leukemic cells.

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