We used the HL-60 human promyelocytic leukemia cell line to analyze the surface expression of a family of adherence-related leukocyte surface antigens during myeloid differentiation. These antigens are composed of discrete alpha subunits, designated alpha L, alpha M, and alpha X, that are each noncovalently associated with a common beta subunit. Monoclonal antibodies directed against the individual subunits served as markers in both indirect immunofluorescence studies and immunoprecipitations from HL-60 cells differentiated preferentially towards mature granulocytes (DMSO, retinoic acid) or monocyte/macrophages (PMA, vitamin D3). In undifferentiated HL-60 cells, the alpha L and alpha X subunits were constitutively expressed, whereas the alpha M subunit was not. Differentiation of HL-60 cells along the granulocytic pathway with DMSO resulted in a marked increase in alpha M and minimal increases in alpha L and alpha X. The phenotypic expression of these antigens on DMSO-treated HL-60 cells closely resembled that on normal circulating PMN. Differentiation along the monocyte/macrophage pathway when using PMA or vitamin D3 resulted in major increases in alpha L and alpha X expression, as well as alpha M. These changes resulted in a surface phenotype characteristic of that present on human monocyte-derived macrophages. Triggering of undifferentiated HL-60 cells with PMA caused no increase in subunit expression, whereas stimulation of DMSO-differentiated HL-60 cells with PMA produced more than a 1.5-fold enhancement of both the alpha M and alpha X subunits, and stimulation of human PMN with PMA increased the surface expression of alpha M more than fourfold and alpha X subunit twofold. Stimulation with PMA produced no change in expression of the alpha L subunit in any of the three cell populations. These results indicate that the alpha subunits of this glycoprotein family can be selectively regulated during in vitro differentiation of a human promyelocytic leukemia cell line. Second, DMSO-differentiated HL-60 cells and human PMN possessed an intracellular pool of alpha M and alpha X, but not alpha L, that could be translocated to the surface. Thus, despite structural and functional relationships among the alpha subunits in this glycoprotein family, they undergo disparate surface expression and intracellular regulation during differentiation.

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