Upregulation of stem cell genes in multidrug resistant K562 leukemia cells

Leuk Res. 2009 Oct;33(10):1379-85. doi: 10.1016/j.leukres.2009.03.028. Epub 2009 Apr 24.


The transmembrane transporter P-glycoprotein (P-gp) encoded by ABCB1, is one major cause for multidrug resistance (MDR). We compared the genomic profile and gene expression pattern of the P-gp positive K562VCR cells with parental P-gp negative K562wt cells. In K562VCR array CGH revealed amplification of ABCB1, ABCB4, ABCB5 and SEMA3D, whereas expression microarrays demonstrated upregulation of stem cell genes (e.g. KIT and HOXB4), anti-apoptotic genes (e.g. IGF1R and CCNG1), and downregulation of pro-apoptotic genes (e.g. CASP4, 6 and 7). Thus, K562VCR cells disclose stem cell characteristics including a range of drug resistance mechanisms possibly attained as a stem cell program switched on en bloc.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B / genetics*
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1 / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Human
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • K562 Cells / pathology*
  • Leukemia, Erythroblastic, Acute / genetics*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Stem Cell Factor / genetics
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Up-Regulation


  • ABCB1 protein, human
  • ABCB5 protein, human
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B
  • ATP Binding Cassette Transporter, Subfamily B, Member 1
  • HOXB4 protein, human
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Stem Cell Factor
  • Transcription Factors
  • multidrug resistance protein 3