Frequent mutations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene in human leukemia T-cell lines

Mol Cell Biol. 1990 Oct;10(10):5502-9. doi: 10.1128/mcb.10.10.5502-5509.1990.


Human T-cell leukemia and T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell lines were studied for alterations in the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Southern blot analysis of 10 leukemic T-cell lines revealed no gross genomic deletions or rearrangements. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis of p53 mRNA indicated that all 10 lines produced p53 mRNA of normal size. By direct sequencing of polymerase chain reaction-amplified cDNA, we detected 11 missense and nonsense point mutations in 5 of the 10 leukemic T-cell lines studied. The mutations are primarily located in the evolutionarily highly conserved regions of the p53 gene. One of the five cell lines in which a mutation was detected possesses a homozygous point mutation in both p53 alleles, while the other four cell lines harbor from two to four different point mutations. An allelic study of two of the lines (CEM, A3/Kawa) shows that the two missense mutations found in each line are located on separate alleles, thus both alleles of the p53 gene may have been functionally inactivated by two different point mutations. Since cultured leukemic T-cell lines represent a late, fully tumorigenic stage of leukemic T cells, mutation of both (or more) alleles of the p53 gene may reflect the selection of cells possessing an increasingly tumorigenic phenotype, whether the selection took place in vivo or in vitro. Previously, we have shown that the HSB-2 T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell line had lost both alleles of the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene. Taken together, our data show that at least 6 of 10 leukemic T-cell lines examined may have lost the normal function of a known tumor suppressor gene, suggesting that this class of genes serves a critical role in the generation of fully tumorigenic leukemic T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, T-Cell / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Retinoblastoma / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53


  • Oligonucleotides
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53