Aphidicolin, an inhibitor of DNA replication, blocks the TPA-induced differentiation of a human megakaryoblastic cell line, MEG-O1

Blood. 1991 Dec 15;78(12):3168-77.


The commitment process of a human megakaryoblastic cell line (MEG-O1) induced with phorbol ester, TPA, was investigated with special reference to glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa expression, multinuclear formation, and DNA replication. TPA (10(-7) mol/L) completely inhibited cellular division in MEG-O1, but did not suppress de novo DNA synthesis. Two days' culture with 10(-7) mol/L TPA was sufficient for MEG-O1 cells to initiate an irreversible commitment process. These cells could not resume cell growth and expressed GP IIb/IIIa antigen; some of them showed multinuclear form and DNA polyploidy even after removal of TPA from the culture medium. DNA histogram analysis showed that, upon treatment with TPA, the percentage of cells whose DNA ploidy was more than 8N was 5 to 10 times higher than that of control cells. Precise analysis using cell size fractionation by centrifugal elutriation method showed that there was strong correlation between the percentage of multinuclear cells and DNA polyploidy in TPA-treated cells. The percentage and staining intensity of GP IIb/IIIa and other megakaryocytic phenotypes such as von Willebrand factor and PAS staining were highest in large multinuclear cell populations, suggesting that these cells are the most differentiated population in this system. In TPA-treated cells, the activity of DNA polymerase alpha, a marker for cell growth, remained at the same level as in control cells. Aphidicolin, a specific inhibitor of DNA polymerase alpha, completely inhibited the differentiation induction of MEG-O1 cells with TPA measured by either GP IIb/IIIa expression or multinuclear cell formation. Therefore, DNA replication appears to be involved in the process of phenotypic expression as well as endomitosis in megakaryocyte differentiation of MEG-O1 cells. Aphidicolin was also effective in inhibiting megakaryocytic differentiation of other leukemia cell lines such as human erythroleukemia (HEL) and K562 cell lines induced with TPA, suggesting the close interplay of DNA replication and phenotypic expression in megakaryopoiesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aphidicolin / pharmacology*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • DNA / analysis
  • DNA Replication / drug effects*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Myelogenous, Chronic, BCR-ABL Positive
  • Megakaryocytes / cytology*
  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins / analysis
  • Ploidies
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Nucleic Acid Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Platelet Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Aphidicolin
  • DNA
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate