The human leukemic cell lines, K562, KG-1, and HL-60, and the blast subclones, KG-1a and HL-60 blast, were utilized to relate differences in nonhistone protein antigens to stages of myeloid cell differentiation. Chromatin proteins were separated on SDS- polyacrylamide gels, transferred electrophoretically to nitrocellulose sheets, and visualized by the peroxidase-antiperoxidase method of Sternberger. Screening with antisera raised against total and dehistonized chromatin and a nuclear extract from these cells revealed quantitative as well as qualitative differences between the cell lines. A decrease in antigen content seemed to parallel progressive stages of myeloid cell development. The results indicate that a number of chromosomal protein antigens are lost or modified during differentiation. An antigen(s) of approximately 55,000 molecular weight was found in HL-60 chromatin, but was not present in its less differentiated subclone or in the other lines representative of earlier stage cells. Upon the induction of HL-60 cells to mature to end stages with 4 microM retinoic acid, a significant increase in the mol wt 55,000 activity was seen. This antigen was detected only with antisera against HL-60 total chromatin and granulocyte nuclei, and it was found only in normal mature granulocytes and in the later stage cells of the HL-60 culture. Thus, the antigen appears to be associated with a differentiated myeloid function.

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