Role of the common γ chain in cell cycle progression of human malignant cell lines

Int Immunol. 2012 Mar;24(3):159-67. doi: 10.1093/intimm/dxr114. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


The γ-chain (γc) is a transducing element shared between several cytokine receptors whose alteration causes X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency. Recently, a direct involvement of γc in self-sufficient growth in a concentration-dependent manner was described, implying a direct relationship between the amount of the molecule and its role in cell cycle progression. In this study, we evaluate whether γc expression could interfere in cell cycle progression also in malignant hematopoietic cells. Here, we first report that in the absence of γc expression, lymphoblastoid B-cell lines (BCLs) die at a higher extent than control cells. This phenomenon is caspase-3 independent and is associated to a decreased expression of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members. By contrast, increased expression of γc protein directly correlates with spontaneous cell growth in several malignant hematopoietic cell lines. We, also, find that the knockdown of γc protein through short interfering RNA is able to decrease the cell proliferation rate in these malignancies. Furthermore, an increased expression of all D-type cyclins is found in proliferating neoplastic cells. In addition, a direct correlation between the amount of γc and cyclins A2 and B1 expression is found. Hence, our data demonstrate that the amount of the γc is able to influence the transcription of genes involved in cell cycle progression, thus being directly involved in the regulatory control of cell proliferation of malignant hematopoietic cells.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Humans
  • Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit / genetics
  • Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit / metabolism*
  • Leukemia / genetics
  • Leukemia / metabolism*
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transfection


  • IL2RG protein, human
  • Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit
  • RNA, Small Interfering