Late committed progenitor cells of erythropoiesis, CFU-E (colony- forming unit--erythroid), were isolated from mouse spleens to near homogeneity by a three-step enrichment procedure. The procedure included a four-day pretreatment of bled mice with the antibiotic thiamphenicol, a recovery period of 3 1/2 days, followed by centrifugal elutriation and Percoll density gradient centrifugation of the spleen cells. This practically pure CFU-E population was used to study some aspects of erythroid differentiation in vitro. Colony growth, as well as morphology and glycolytic enzyme activities of cells isolated at selected times of the 48-hour culture period, were determined. Marked declining activities of several enzymes, including hexokinase, phosphofructokinase, aldolase, enolase, pyruvate kinase, and glucose-6- phosphate dehydrogenase, were observed during in vitro differentiation. The activity of diphosphoglycerate mutase was almost absent in the CFU- E, but progressively increased during differentiation. The isozyme distribution of aldolase and enolase did not change during CFU-E in vitro differentiation into the reticulocyte. Hexokinase (HK) in the CFU- E contained mainly a double-banded type I isozyme, in addition to a minor amount of HK II. During differentiation, a shift was noticed within the double-banded HK I region, whereas HK ii disappeared after one cell division. Pyruvate kinase in the CFU-E was characterized by the presence of both the K-type and the L-type isozyme and hybrids of these isozyme types. During in vitro differentiation, the production of the K-type isozyme rapidly stops in favor of the L type.

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