Correlation between Hypomethylation of DNA and Expression of Globin Genes in Friend Erythroleukemia Cells

Judith K. CHRISTMAN, Peter PRICE, Lauri PEDRINAN, George ACS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

170 Scopus citations


This report identifies l‐ethionine as an inducer of differentiation in murine erythroleukemia cells. When Friend erythroleukemia cells are grown in the presence of 4 mM l‐ethionine, globin mRNA accumulates and in 4–5 days, 25–30% of the cells in the culture contain hemoglobin. Incubation of the cells with bromodeoxyuridine prevents both ethionine‐induced accumulation of globin mRNA and erythroid differentiation. At the concentration where l‐ethionine acts as an inducer of FL cell differentiation it inhibits methylation of DNA and tRNA in vivo but does not prevent macromolecular synthesis or cell division. To establish whether a link existed between inhibition of a specific methyltransferase and activation of globin synthesis in FL cells, we examined the degree of hypomethylation of DNA and tRNA from FL cells induced to differentiate with dimethylsulfoxide and butyrate. In contrast to the tRNA from ethionine‐treated cells, tRNA from cells induced by butyrate or Me2SO cannot be methylated in vitro using homologous enzymes. DNA isolated from cells exposed to any of the three inducers, however, was significantly hypomethylated when compared with DNA from uninduced cells. These data suggest that methylation of DNA may play a role in the regulation of gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-61
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1977


Dive into the research topics of 'Correlation between Hypomethylation of DNA and Expression of Globin Genes in Friend Erythroleukemia Cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this