Members of the interferon inducible-200 (IFI-200) family of proteins inhibit cell growth and may be important mediators of differentiation. We examined IFI-204 and IFI-205 mRNA expression in purified populations of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells at different stages of maturation using quantitative RT-PCR and found that their expression markedly increased during myeloid maturation. To evaluate the effect of IFI-205 and IFI-204 on hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) growth, we transduced these genes into mouse bone marrow cells (BMC) using retroviral vectors. The presence IFI-204 or IFI-205 resulted in a decrease in cell growth in response to hematopoietic growth factors. Further analysis revealed the infected cells were 98% c-Kit+ Sca-1+, indicative of the stem cell surface phenotype, suggesting they may be blocked in a primitive stage of maturation. When transplanted, BMC transduced with IFI-204 or IFI-205 failed to engraft lymphoid, myeloid, or erythroid lineages in both short and long term reconstitution assays, suggesting that constitutive expression of IFI-204 and IFI-205 inhibited HSC development both in vitro and in vivo. However, based on the quantitative RT-PCR results, which show that IFI-205 increased during myeloid differentiation, we know its endogenous, regulated expression must permit the cells to mature. Therefore, to study of the effects of these genes on differentiation we transduced the mulitpotential EML (erythroid, myeloid, lymphoid) cell line with IFI-204 and IFI-205 to circumvent severe growth inhibition caused by expression of IFI-204 and Ifi-205 in normal cells. Single cell analysis of EMLs transduced with IFI-205 demonstrated that expression of IFI-205 in this cell line did not significantly inhibit cell growth. We have isolated EML clones from the transduced cells and verified IFI-205 expression. In addition, we generated transgenic mice that express IFI-205 under control of the Vav and MRP8 promoters, and we identified transgenic lines that express IFI-205 at higher levels compared to wild type controls. Analysis of hematopoiesis in these animals is currently in progress. Altogether, our data demonstrate 3 findings: 1) IFI-204 and IFI-205 expression increases during myeloid development based on quantitative RT-PCR analysis, 2) constitutive expression of IFI-204 and -205 results in potent inhibition of growth and maturation of normal hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in vivo and in vitro and 3) these genes did not significantly inhibit the proliferation of the EML cell line, which provides us with a means to study the mechanism by which these molecules regulate myeloid maturation. Finally, the considerable inhibitory effects of these family members on normal hematopoietic cell growth suggest their potential as therapeutic modalities for treatment of leukemia.

(Funded in part by DHHS #NO1-CO-12400).

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