PloS one

Inositol Pyrophosphate Profiling of Two HCT116 Cell Lines Uncovers Variation in InsP8 Levels.

PMID 27788189


The HCT116 cell line, which has a pseudo-diploid karotype, is a popular model in the fields of cancer cell biology, intestinal immunity, and inflammation. In the current study, we describe two batches of diverged HCT116 cells, which we designate as HCT116NIH and HCT116UCL. Using both gel electrophoresis and HPLC, we show that HCT116UCL cells contain 6-fold higher levels of InsP8 than HCT116NIH cells. This observation is significant because InsP8 is one of a group of molecules collectively known as 'inositol pyrophosphates' (PP-InsPs)-highly 'energetic' and conserved regulators of cellular and organismal metabolism. Variability in the cellular levels of InsP8 within divergent HCT116 cell lines could have impacted the phenotypic data obtained in previous studies. This difference in InsP8 levels is more remarkable for being specific; levels of other inositol phosphates, and notably InsP6 and 5-InsP7, are very similar in both HCT116NIH and HCT116UCL lines. We also developed a new HPLC procedure to record 1-InsP7 levels directly (for the first time in any mammalian cell line); 1-InsP7 comprised <2% of total InsP7 in HCT116NIH and HCT116UCL lines. The elevated levels of InsP8 in the HCT116UCL lines were not due to an increase in expression of the PP-InsP kinases (IP6Ks and PPIP5Ks), nor to a decrease in the capacity to dephosphorylate InsP8. We discuss how the divergent PP-InsP profiles of the newly-designated HCT116NIH and HCT116UCL lines should be considered an important research opportunity: future studies using these two lines may uncover new features that regulate InsP8 turnover, and may also yield new directions for studying InsP8 function.