Analysis of folypoly-γ-glutamate synthetase gene expression in human B-precursor ALL and T-lineage ALL cells

Guy J. Leclerc, Gilles M. Leclerc, Ting Ting Hsieh Kinser, Julio C. Barredo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Expression of folylpoly-Υ-glutamate synthetase (FPGS) gene is two- to three-fold higher in B-precursor ALL (Bp-ALL) than in T-lineage ALL (T-ALL) and correlates with intracellular accumulation of methotrexate (MTX) polyglutamates and lymphoblast sensitivity to MTX. In this report, we investigated the molecular regulatory mechanisms directing FPGS gene expression in Bp-ALL and T-ALL cells. Methods: To determine FPGS transcription rate in Bp-ALL and T-ALL we used nuclear run-on assays. 5'-RACE was used to uncover potential regulatory regions involved in the lineage differences. We developed a luciferase reporter gene assay to investigate FPGS promoter/enhancer activity. To further characterize the FPGS proximal promoter, we determined the role of the putative transcription binding sites NFY and E-box on FPGS expression using luciferase reporter gene assays with substitution mutants and EMSA. Results: FPGS transcription initiation rate was 1.6-fold higher in NALM6 vs. CCRF-CEM cells indicating that differences in transcription rate led to the observed lineage differences in FPGS expression between Bp-ALL and T-ALL blasts. Two major transcripts encoding the mitochondrial/cytosolic and cytosolic isoforms were detected in Bp-ALL (NALM6 and REH) whereas in T-ALL (CCRF-CEM) cells only the mitochondrial/ cytosolic transcript was detected. In all DNA fragments examined for promoter/enhancer activity, we measured significantly lower luciferase activity in NALM6 vs. CCRF-CEM cells, suggesting the need for additional yet unidentified regulatory elements in Bp-ALL. Finally, we determined that the putative transcription factor binding site NFY, but not E-box, plays a role in FPGS transcription in both Bp- and T-lineage. Conclusion: We demonstrated that the minimal FPGS promoter region previously described in CCRF-CEM is not sufficient to effectively drive FPGS transcription in NALM6 cells, suggesting that different regulatory elements are required for FPGS gene expression in Bp-cells. Our data indicate that the control of FPGS expression in human hematopoietic cells is complex and involves lineage-specific differences in regulatory elements, transcription initiation rates, and mRNA processing. Understanding the lineage-specific mechanisms of FPGS expression should lead to improved therapeutic strategies aimed at overcoming MTX resistance or inducing apoptosis in leukemic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number132
JournalBMC Cancer
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - May 17 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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