Synthesis of cathepsin B by cells derived from the HL60 promyelocytic leukaemia cell line

D. Burnett, J. Crocker, Andrew T M Vaughan

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18 Scopus citations


Cells of the human promyelocytic HL60 line were induced to differentiate into granulocyte-like cells with dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO) or macrophage-like cells with 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). The synthesis of Cathepsin B by these cells was studied by immunoperoxidase staining and assay of cell lysates using the fluorimetric substrate benzoyloxycarbonyl-phenylanalyl-arginine-4-methyl-7-coumarylamide. Only 2-5% of the uninduced HL60 cells and DMSO-induced cells were immunohistochemically positive for Cathepsin B, compared with over 80% of the TPA-induced cells. Cathepsin B activity was lowest in the lysates of uninduced HL60s. DMSO-induced cells contained 1.5-2-fold the enzyme activity of HL60s and TPA-induced cell lysates demonstrated 5-14-fold the activity of uninduced HL60s. Induction of Cathepsin B synthesis was therefore associated with differentiation of the promyelocytes into cells of the monocyte/macrophage type, but not granulocyte-like cells. Cathepsin B was located immunohistochemically in human palatine tonsils. The enzyme was only demonstrated within macrophages in these tissues. Cathepsin B may therefore be a useful immunohistochemical marker for malignant and nonmalignant cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-254
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology


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