We have recently shown, using antisense strategy, that the RII beta regulatory subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase is essential for cAMP-induced growth inhibition and differentiation of HL-60 human leukemia cells. We constructed a retroviral vector for RII beta (MT-RII beta) by inserting human RII beta complementary DNA into the OT1521 retroviral vector plasmid that contains an internal mouse metallothionein-1 promoter and a neomycin resistance gene. The PA317 packaging cell line was then transfected with MT-RII beta plasmid to produce the amphotrophic stock of MT-RII beta retroviral vector. The infection with MT-RII beta and treatment with CdCl2 brought about growth arrest in HL-60 human leukemia and Ki-ras-transformed NIH 3T3 clone DT cells in monolayer culture with no sign of toxicity. The growth inhibition correlated with the expression of RII beta and accompanied changes in cell morphology; cells became flat, exhibiting enlarged cytoplasm. The growth of these cells in semisolid medium (anchorage-independent growth) was almost completely suppressed. In contrast, overexpression of the RI alpha subunit of protein kinase enhanced the cell proliferation in DT cells. The MT-RII beta-infected cells exhibited an increased sensitivity toward treatment with cAMP analogues, such as 8-Cl-cAMP and N6-benzyl-cAMP, as compared with the parental noninfected cells. In MT-RII beta HL-60 cells, N6-benzyl-cAMP treatment greatly enhanced the expression of monocytic surface markers. These results suggest that the RII beta cAMP receptor, by binding to its ligand, cAMP, acts as a tumor suppressor protein exerting growth inhibition, differentiation, and reverse transformation.
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