Establishment and characterization of a unique human cell line that proliferates dependently on GM-CSF, IL-3, or erythropoietin

J Cell Physiol. 1989 Aug;140(2):323-34. doi: 10.1002/jcp.1041400219.


We have established a novel cell line, designated as TF-1, from a patient with erythroleukemia, which showed complete growth dependency on granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) or on interleukin-3 (IL-3) and carried a homogeneous chromosomal abnormality (54X). Erythropoietin (EPO) also sustained the short-term growth of TF-1, but did not induce erythroid differentiation. These three hematopoietic growth factors acted on TF-1 synergistically. Transforming growth factor-beta and interferons inhibited the factor-dependent growth of TF-1 cells in a dose-dependent fashion, and monocyte-colony stimulating factor and interkeukin-1 enhanced the GM-CSF-dependent growth of TF-1. Ultrastructural studies revealed some very immature features in this cell line. Although TF-1 cells do not express glycophorin A or carbonyl anhydrase I, the morphological and cytochemical features, and the constitutive expression of globin genes, indicate the commitment of TF-1 to erythroid lineage. When induced to differentiate, TF-1 entered two different pathways. Specifically, hemin and delta-aminolevulinic acid induced hemoglobin synthesis, whereas TPA induced dramatic differentiation of TF-1 into macrophage-like cells. In summary, TF-1 is a cell line of immature erythroid origin that requires GM-CSF, IL-3, or EPO for its growth and that has the ability to undergo differentiation into either more mature erythroid cells or into macrophage-like cells. TF-1 is a useful tool for analyzing the human receptors for IL-3, GM-CSF, and EPO or the signal transduction of these hemopoietic growth factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Surface / analysis
  • Bone Marrow / analysis
  • Bone Marrow / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow / pathology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors / pharmacology*
  • Erythropoietin / pharmacology*
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor
  • Growth Substances / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-3 / pharmacology*
  • Leukemia, Erythroblastic, Acute / pathology
  • Male
  • Mitosis
  • Stem Cells / pathology
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / analysis
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / pathology


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Colony-Stimulating Factors
  • Growth Substances
  • Interleukin-3
  • Erythropoietin
  • Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor