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The phorbol diesters are the most potent inducers of differentiation of the promyelocytic leukemia cell line, HL-60. Soluble phorbol diester receptors from HL-60 cells were obtained from the cytosolic fraction and from the particulate fraction by either divalent ion chelation or detergent extraction. The partially purified soluble phorbol diester receptors required exogenous Ca2+ and phospholipid for maximal binding and displayed a dissociation constant (KD) of 8.1 nM for [3H]phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate. Phorbol diester analogues inhibited [3H]phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate binding in a stereospecific manner consistent with their biologic potency. The soluble phorbol diester receptors prepared by all three methods copurified in a constant ratio with the Ca2+/phospholipid-dependent protein kinase C through ammonium sulfate precipitation, DEAE ion exchange, and gel filtration chromatography. Partially purified protein kinase C was directly activated by the phorbol diesters even in the absence of exogenous Ca2+. The ability of a series of phorbol analogues to activate the kinase correlated with their known activity as inducers of cell differentiation. In addition, phorbol diester stimulation altered the phosphate acceptor substrate profile of protein kinase C, at least in part, by alteration of the Michaelis constant (Km). These data suggest that protein kinase C is the phorbol diester receptor and that phorbol diester-induced macrophage maturation of HL-60 cells may be mediated by activation of intracellular protein kinase C.


G R Vandenbark, L J Kuhn, J E Niedel


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