Antisense down-regulation of metallothionein in a human monocytic cell line alters adherence, invasion, and the respiratory burst

Leibbrandt, M.E.; Khokha, R.; Koropatnick, J.

Cell Growth and Differentiation the Molecular Biology Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 5(1): 17-25


ISSN/ISBN: 1044-9523
PMID: 8123589
Accession: 008176085

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A human monocyte-derived cell line (THP-1) was used as a model to investigate the role of metallothionein (MT) in the cellular physiology of resting and activated monocytes. MT protein levels were reduced in THP-1 cells by transient transfections with an antisense MT expression vector. Antisense mouse MT-1 RNA was constitutively expressed under the control of the H-2K-b (mouse major histocompatibility complex I) promoter and could be further induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) treatment. THP-1 cells expressing antisense MT RNA (aMT-THP-1) had a 30% reduction in MT protein levels. In the absence of LPS treatment, aMT-THP-1 cells demonstrated increased production of H-2O-2 concurrent with enhanced adherence and invasiveness compared to cells transfected with the control vector (cv-THP-1). Treatment of aMT-THP-1 cells with LPS depressed these activation-associated responses and further reduced the level of MT protein. cv-THP-1 cells activated by LPS produced high levels of H-2O-2 and adhered to and invaded a reconstituted basement membrane. In addition to increasing cadmium sensitivity, diminished MT levels affected broad-ranging processes associated with resting and activated monocyte function. Thus, metallothionein plays an important physiological role in cells in addition to its role in detoxification of heavy metals.