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

cAMP effects on myogenic gene expression in rhabdomyosarcoma cells.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a tumor of skeletal muscle origin affecting children and young adults. Although relatively undifferentiated, cell lines derived from this tumor express myogenic regulatory factors and so may be useful models of abortive myogenic differentiation. In the present studies, we have determined the effect of increased intracellular cAMP on proliferation, morphologic differentiation, and expression of myogenic genes in the prototypic embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma cell line, RD. Whereas growth in dibutyryl cAMP (dbcAMP), forskolin, or butyrate led to morphologic differentiation, growth in dbcAMP inhibited proliferation, while growth in butyrate slowed but did not stop cell division. Expression of the genes for myogenin and myosin light chain was inhibited by dbcAMP, while butyrate decreased myogenin and increased myosin light chain transcription. MyoD and MRF4 expression was not altered under either condition and no myf5 expression was detected. We also determined the effects of dbcAMP and butyrate on total protein expression, as well as on a panel of muscle- and neural-specific proteins using functional assays, immunohistochemistry, and immunoprecipitation. The total protein levels of cells treated with either agent were double those of untreated cells. DbcAMP increased the activity of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) up to 10-fold compared to untreated cells, while butyrate had a substantially lesser effect. These increases were due to increased AChE protein synthesis and stability in dbcAMP treated cells, compared to butyrate or untreated cells. Finally, cells under all conditions expressed MAP2, a neural-specific microtubule associated protein. Together, these data suggest that intracellular cAMP levels modulate distinct subsets of the myogenic differentiation pathway in rhabdomyosarcoma cells. Moreover, they also indicate that RD cells are able to express markers of different cell lineages, which may help explain some of the paradoxical features of these tumors.[1]


  1. cAMP effects on myogenic gene expression in rhabdomyosarcoma cells. Wasserman, L.M., Newsham, I., Huang, H.J., Cavenee, W.K. Exp. Cell Res. (1996) [Pubmed]
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