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01.12.2018 | Primary Research | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Cancer Cell International 1/2018

Down regulation of G protein-coupled receptor 137 expression inhibits proliferation and promotes apoptosis in leukemia cells

Cancer Cell International > Ausgabe 1/2018
Li-Jie Men, Ji-Zhu Liu, Hai-Ying Chen, Li Zhang, Shuang-Feng Chen, Tai-Wu Xiao, Jing-Xia Wang, Guang-Yao Li, Ya-Ping Wu



G protein-coupled receptors (GPR) are involved in a wide range of physiological processes, some of which, however, can be hijacked by tumor cells. Over-expression of G protein-coupled receptors 137 (GPR137) are associated with the growth of tumor cells, but under-expression of GPR137 has shown to inhibit cell proliferation in several different types of cancers. Currently, the role of GPR137 in leukemia is still unclear. In this study, the effect of under-expression of GPR137 on inhibiting the proliferation of leukemia cells is explored, to identify a novel target for leukemia treatment.

Materials and methods

In this study, lentivirus-mediated RNA interference (RNAi) was employed to investigate the role of GPR137 in two leukemia cell lines K562 and HL60. The gene expression of GPR137 was analyzed by RT-PCR and its protein expression was determined by Western blot. Flow cytometry and Annexin V/7-AAD Apoptosis Detection Kit was used respectively in cell cycle and apoptosis analysis. The protein expression of CyclinD1, CDK4, BCL-2 and caspase-3 were also determined.


There was high level of constitutive expression of GPR137 in leukemia cancer cell lines K562 and HL60. Lentivirus-mediated RNAi could significantly down-regulate gene and protein expression of GPR137 in both cell lines. Down regulation of GPR137 was associated with the reduction in proliferation rate and colony forming capacity. In addition, down regulation of GPR137 arrested cells in the G0/G1 phase of cell cycle and induced apoptosis in both leukemia cell lines K562 and HL60.


The expression of GPR137 is associated with the proliferation of leukemia cell lines. Down regulation of GPR137 could inhibit proliferation and promote apoptosis in leukemia cells, which makes it a promising bio-marker and therapeutic target to treat patients with leukemia.
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