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Cell Structure and Function
Vol. 25 (2000) No. 2 P 103-113




The efficacy of anticancer agents significantly depends on the differential susceptibility of undifferentiated cancer cells and differentiated normal cells to undergo apoptosis. We previously found that enhanced expression of RPS3a/nbl, which apparently encodes a ribosomal protein, seems to prime cells for apoptosis, while suppressing such enhanced expression triggers cell death. The present study found that HL-60 cells induced to differentiate by all-trans retinoic acid did not undergo apoptosis following treatment with actinomycin D whereas undifferentiated HL-60 cells were highly apoptosis-susceptible, confirming earlier suggestions that differentiated cells have diminished apoptosis-susceptibility. Undifferentiated HL-60 cells highly expressed RPS3a/nbl whereas all-trans retinoic acid -induced differentiated cells exhibited markedly reduced levels, suggesting that apoptosis-resistance of differentiated cells could be due to low RPS3a/nbl expression. Down-regulation of enhanced RPS3a/nbl expression was also observed in cells induced to differentiate with the retinoid 4-[(E)-2-(5,6,7,8-tetrahydro-5,5,8,8-tetramethyl-2-napthalenyl)-1-propenyl]benzoic acid without any significant induction of cell death. While down-regulation of RPS3a/nbl expression during differentiation did not apparently induce apoptosis, RPS3a/nbl antisense oligomers triggered death of undifferentiated HL-60 cells, but not of retinoid-induced differentiated cells. It therefore seems that while down-regulation of enhanced RPS3a/nbl expression can induce apoptosis in undifferentiated cells, down-regulation of enhanced RPS3a/nbl expression during differentiation occurs independently of apoptosis, and could be regarded as reverting the primed condition to the unprimed (low RPS3a/nbl) state.

Copyright © 2000 by Japan Society for Cell Biology

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