Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

A lineage-specific protein kinase crucial for myeloid maturation.

PMID 9860982


To identify genes involved in macrophage development, we used the differential display technique and compared the gene expression profiles for human myeloid HL-60 leukemia cell lines susceptible and resistant to macrophage maturation. We identified a gene coding for a protein kinase, protein kinase X (PRKX), which was expressed in the maturation-susceptible, but not in the resistant, cell line. The expression of the PRKX gene was found to be induced during monocyte, macrophage, and granulocyte maturation of HL-60 cells. We also studied the expression of the PRKX gene in 12 different human tissues and transformed cell lines and found that, among these tissues and cell types, the PRKX gene is expressed only in blood. Among the blood cell lineages, the PRKX gene is specifically expressed in macrophages and granulocytes. Antisense inhibition of PRKX expression blocked terminal development in both the leukemic HL-60 cells and normal peripheral blood monocytes, implying that PRKX is a key mediator of macrophage and granulocyte maturation. Using the HL-60 cell variant deficient in protein kinase C-beta (PKC-beta) and several stable PKC-beta transfectants, we found that PRKX gene expression is under control of PKC-beta; hence PRKX is likely to act downstream of this PKC isozyme in the same signal transduction pathway leading to macrophage maturation.