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

Induction by ouabain of hemoglobin synthesis in cultured Friend erythroleukemic cells.

Induction of erythroid differentiation in ouabain-resistant murine erythroleukemia cells by ouabain is reported. Ouabain induction results in the appearance of hemoglobin-containing cells 12-24 hr earlier than induction of the same clone by dimethyl sulfoxide. The levels of globin mRNA after ouabain induction are similar in amount to the globin mRNA levels observed after induction by dimethyl sulfoxide. The concentration of ouabain required to induce hemoglobin synthesis depends upon the K+ ion levels in the culture medium. Lowering the extracellular K+ ion concentration 2-4 fold reduced by 10-40 fold the ouabain concentration necessary for the induction of hemoglobin synthesis. In low K+ medium (1.8 mM), ouabain is an effective inducer of hemoglobin synthesis at a concentration of 0.02 mM. This K+ effect is specific for ouabain induction, since induction by other inducers, such as dimethyl sulfoxide and dimethyl acetamide, does not exhibit this marked sensitivity to the levels of K+ ions in the culture medium. These results suggest that the binding of ouabain to the plasma membrane enzyme, Na/K ATPase, is required for the induction of erythroid differentiation by ouabain. A small but significant proportion of wild-type, ouabain-sensitive cells also can be induced by ouabain, below ouabain concentrations that are toxic to these cells. The observation that the binding of ouabain to the Na/K ATPase induces hemoglobin synthesis suggests that changes in the intracellular concentration of K+ ions may be involved in the control of erythroid differentiation in Friend erythroleukemic cells.[1]


  1. Induction by ouabain of hemoglobin synthesis in cultured Friend erythroleukemic cells. Bernstein, A., Hunt, D.M., Crichley, V., Mak, T.W. Cell (1976) [Pubmed]
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