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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Biphasic ordered induction of heme synthesis in differentiating murine erythroleukemia cells: role of erythroid 5-aminolevulinate synthase.

During dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO)-stimulated differentiation of murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells, one of the early events is the induction of the heme biosynthetic pathway. While recent reports have clearly demonstrated that GATA-1 is involved in the induction of erythroid cell-specific forms of 5-aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS-2) and porphobilinogen (PBG) deaminase and that cellular iron status plays a regulatory role for ALAS-2, little is known about regulation of the remainder of the pathway. In the current study, we have made use of a stable MEL cell mutant (MEAN-1) in which ALAS-2 enzyme activity is not induced by DMSO, hexamethylene bisacetamide (HMBA), or butyric acid. In this cell line, addition of 2% DMSO to growing cultures results in the normal induction of PBG deaminase and coproporphyrinogen oxidase but not in the induction of the terminal two enzymes, protoporphyrinogen oxidase and ferrochelatase. These DMSO-treated cells did not produce mRNA for beta-globin and do not terminally differentiate. In addition, the cellular level of ALAS activity declines rapidly after addition of DMSO, indicating that ALAS-1 must turn over rapidly at this time. Addition of 75 microM hemin alone to the cultures did not induce cells to terminally differentiate or induce any of the pathway enzymes. However, the simultaneous addition of 2% DMSO and 75 microM hemin caused the cells to carry out a normal program of terminal erythroid differentiation, including the induction of ferrochelatase and beta-globin. These data suggest that induction of the entire heme biosynthetic pathway is biphasic in nature and that induction of the terminal enzymes may be mediated by the end product of the pathway, heme. We have introduced mouse ALAS-2 cDNA into the ALAS-2 mutant cell line (MEAN-1) under the control of the mouse metallothionein promoter (MEAN-RA). When Cd and Zn are added to cultures of MEAN-RA in the absence of DMSO, ALAS-2 is induced but erythroid differentiation does not occur and cells continue to grow normally. In the presence of metallothionein inducers and DMSO, the MEAN-RA cells induce in a fashion similar to that found with the wild-type 270 MEL cells. Induction of the activities of ALAS, PBG deaminase, coproporphyrinogen oxidase, and ferrochelatase occurs. In cultures of MEAN-RA where ALAS-2 had been induced with Cd plus Zn 24 h prior to DMSO addition, onset of heme synthesis occurs more rapidly than when DMSO and Cd plus Zn are added simultaneously. This study reveals that induction of ALAS-2 alone is not sufficient to induce terminal differentiation of the MEAN-RA cells, and it does not appear that ALAS-2 alone is the rate-limiting enzyme of the heme biosynthetic pathway during MEL cell differentiation.[1]


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