A platelet factor 4 (PF4)-expressing cell line, HELNeo, was derived from the human erythroleukemia cell line, HEL. This was achieved by stable transfection of HEL cells with a construct containing the rat PF4 promoter driving the gene coding for resistance to neomycin, followed by selection of neomycin-resistant clones. HELNeo cells were all nonadhering and about 5% of the cells had polyploid nuclei (= or = 8N), as compared with 1% in HEL cells. Immunohistochemistry showed that about 90% of the HELNeo cells contained PF4, whereas only approximately 5% of the HEL cells contained PF4. No significant parallel enrichment was observed for other megakaryocytic markers, such as the glycoprotein complex IIb/IIIa, von Willebrand factor, and platelet activation- dependent granule to external membrane glycoprotein (PADGEM), which were present to a similar extent in both HEL and HELNeo lines. The increased expression of PF4 in HELNeo cells was confirmed by transient expression assays and was associated with a fivefold increase in trans- acting factors binding to the PF4 promoter. These cells should be a rich source for purifying trans-acting factors binding to the PF4 gene. Moreover, our study shows how a lineage-specific promoter may be used to generate lineage-specific cell lines from a multilineage hematopoietic cell line.

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