Actin is an important cytoskeletal protein; new actin synthesis occurs during differentiation of many motile cells. To better understand the process of myeloid maturation, the change in actin content during induced maturation of HL-60 human promyelocytic leukemia cells was studied. HL-60 cells induced toward myeloid maturation by a 5-day exposure to dimethylformamide showed an 86% increase in a 43,000 mol wt protein comigrating with rabbit muscle actin on dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gels. To further demonstrate that this was an increase in actin content, the total actin content of lysed HL-60 cells was measured by the ability of actin to inhibit DNAase I. Using this assay, actin content of HL-60 cells increased 96% during induced differentiation. The amount of incorporation of 3H-leucine into actin doubled after a 5-day exposure to dimethylformamide, suggesting the increase in actin was due primarily to new synthesis. Total new protein synthesis increased 2–7-fold during differentiation. Additional analysis of polyacrylamide gels showed increased quantities and new synthesis of a high molecular weight protein comigrating with rabbit muscle myosin. This study shows that actin content increases during myeloid maturation. It also demonstrates that the HL-60 cell line is a useful model to study both functional and biochemical events during human myeloid differentiation.

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