Recombinant human retinoblastoma protein inhibits cancer cell growth

L. C. Pagliaro, D. Antelman, D. E. Johnson, T. Machemer, E. A. McCulloch, E. J. Freireich, S. A. Stass, H. M. Shepard, D. Maneval, J. U. Gutterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Aberrant expression of the tumor suppressor gene RB1 is associated with a variety of solid tumors and hematopoietic neoplasms. Certain cancer cell lines in which the protein encoded by RB1 (p110(RB)) is absent have been reported to show decreased growth rate, clonogenicity, or tumorigenicity following insertion of a transcriptionally active RB1 gene. We asked whether these RB-deficient cells could be growth inhibited by direct exposure to purified p110(RB). We report a decrease in uptake of tritiated thymidine by 5637 bladder carcinoma cells (RB-negative) when purified recombinant p110(RB) is added to culture media. Internalization of the protein by cells and translocation to the nucleus are demonstrated by immunohistochemistry, FACS, and detection of radiolabeled protein in subcellular fractions. Next, we chose a well-described leukemia cell culture model to investigate the potential effect of recombinant p110(RB) in clinical disease. We observed dose-related decreases in cell number or colony formation in vitro in 8 of 20 acute myelogenous leukemia samples, 7 of which did show endogenous p110(RB) detectable by immunohistochemistry. Histological appearance following exposure to p110(RB) shows cytoplasmic vacuolization and nuclear lobulation of degenerating cells. We conclude that purified p110(RB) added to culture media is internalized by cells, translocated to the nucleus, and exerts a growth-inhibitory effect on certain cancer cell types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)673-680
Number of pages8
JournalCell Growth and Differentiation
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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