Samples donated by patients with T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) were screened for mutations of the p53 tumor suppressor gene. Peripheral blood cells of T-ALL relapse patient H.A. were found to possess a heterozygous point mutation at codon 175 of the p53 gene. To determine whether this was an inherited mutation, a B cell line (HABL) was established. Leukemic T cell lines (HATL) were concurrently established by growing peripheral blood leukemic T cells at low oxygen tension in medium supplemented with IGF-I. Previously we had shown that > 60% of leukemic T cell lines possessed mutations in the p53 gene (Cheng, J., and M. Hass. 1990. Mol. Cell. Biol. 10:5502), mutations that might have originated with the donor's leukemic cells, or might have been induced during establishment of the cell lines. To answer whether establishment of the HATL lines was associated with the induction of p53 mutations, cDNAs of the HATL and HABL lines were sequenced. The HATL lines retained the same heterozygous p53 mutation that was present in the patient's leukemic cells. The HABL line lacked p53 mutations. Immunoprecipitation with specific anti-p53 antibodies showed that HATL cells produced p53 proteins of mutant and wild type immunophenotype, while the HABL line synthesized only wild-type p53 protein. The HATL cells had an abnormal karyotype, while the HABL cells possessed a normal diploid karyotype. These experiments suggest that (a) p53 mutation occurred in the leukemic cells of relapse T-ALL patient HA; (b) the mutation was of somatic rather than hereditary origin; (c) the mutation was leukemia associated; and (d) establishment of human leukemia cell lines needs not be associated with in vitro induction of p53 mutations. It may be significant that patient HA belonged to a category of relapse T-ALL patients in whom a second remission could not be induced.


J Yeargin, J Cheng, A L Yu, R Gjerset, M Bogart, M Haas


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