Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) can inhibit cell proliferation or induce apoptosis in multipotent hematopoietic cells. To study the mechanisms of TGF-beta1 action on primitive hematopoietic cells, we used the interleukin-3 (IL-3)-dependent, multipotent FDCP-Mix cell line. TGF-beta1-mediated growth inhibition was observed in high concentrations of IL-3, while at lower IL-3 concentrations TGF-beta1 induced apoptosis. The proapoptotic effects of TGF-beta1 occur via a p53-independent pathway, since p53(null) FDCP-Mix demonstrated the same responses to TGF-beta1. IL-3 has been suggested to enhance survival via an increase in (antiapoptotic) Bcl-x(L) expression. In FDCP-Mix cells, neither IL-3 nor TGF-beta1 induced any change in Bcl-x(L) protein levels or the proapoptotic proteins Bad or Bax. However, TGF-beta1 had a major effect on Bcl-2 levels, reducing them in the presence of high and low concentrations of IL-3. Overexpression of Bcl-2 in FDCP-Mix cells rescued them from TGF-beta1-induced apoptosis but was incapable of inhibiting TGF-beta1-mediated growth arrest. We conclude that TGF-beta1-induced cell death is independent of p53 and inhibited by Bcl-2, with no effect on Bcl-x(L). The significance of these results for stem cell survival in bone marrow are discussed.
Leukaemia Research Fund Cellular Development Unit, Department of Biomolecular Sciences, UMIST, Sackville St., Manchester, M60 1QD, United Kingdom., , , ,