bcl-2 proto-oncogene expression in normal and neoplastic human myeloid cells.
Delia D., Aiello A., Soligo D., Fontanella E., Melani C., Pezzella F., Pierotti MA., Della Porta G.
The present study provides immunobiochemical and molecular data on the differentiation-linked expression of the bcl-2 proto-oncogene in normal and neoplastic myeloid cells. Using a recently developed monoclonal antibody (MoAb) to the bcl-2 molecule, staining of normal bone marrow myeloblasts, promyelocytes, and myelocytes, but neither monocytes nor most polymorphonuclear cells, was demonstrated. By two-color flow cytometric analysis, bcl-2 was evidenced in CD33+ and CD33+/CD34+ myeloid cells as well as in the more primitive CD33-/CD34+ population. The leukemic cell lines HL-60, KG1, GM-1, and K562 were bcl-2 positive together with 11 of 14 acute myeloid leukemias (AML) and three of three chronic myeloid leukemias (CML) in blast crises; six of seven CML were negative. Among myelodysplastic cases, augmentation of the bcl-2 positive myeloblastic compartment was found in refractory anemia with excess of blasts (RAEB) and in transformation (RAEB-t). Western blots of myeloid leukemias and control lymphocytes extracts evidenced an anti-bcl-2 immunoreactive band of the expected size (26 Kd). Moreover, the HL-60 and KG1 cell lines, both positive for the bcl-2 protein, exhibited the appropriate size bcl-2 mRNA (7.5 Kb). These findings clearly indicate that the bcl-2 gene is operative in myeloid cells and that the anti-bcl-2 MoAb identifies its product and not a cross-reactive epitope. Induction of HL-60 differentiation toward the monocytic and granulocytic pathways was accompanied by a marked decrease in bcl-2 mRNA and protein levels; bivariate flow cytometric analysis showed that the fraction becoming bcl-2 negative was in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. These data establish that the bcl-2 proto-oncogene is expressed on myeloid cells and their progenitors and is regulated in a differentiation-linked manner.