K562 cells

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K562 cells were the first human immortalised myelogenous leukemia line to be established. K562 cells are of the erythroleukemia type, and the line is derived from a 53-year-old female chronic myelogenous leukemia patient in blast crisis.[1][2] The cells are non-adherent and rounded, are positive for the bcr:abl fusion gene, and bear some proteomic resemblance to both undifferentiated granulocytes[3] and erythrocytes.[4]

In culture they exhibit much less clumping than many other suspension lines, presumably due to the downregulation of surface adhesion molecules by bcr:abl.[5] However, another study suggests that bcr:abl over-expression may actually increase cell adherence to cell culture plastic.[6] K562 cells can spontaneously develop characteristics similar to early-stage erythrocytes, granulocytes and monocytes[7] and are easily killed by natural killer cells[8] as they lack the MHC complex required to inhibit NK activity.[2] They also lack any trace of Epstein-Barr virus and other herpesviruses. In addition to the Philadelphia chromosome they also exhibit a second reciprocal translocation between the long arm of chromosome 15 with chromosome 17.[1]

Two sub-lines are available which express MHC class-I A2[9] and A3.[10]


  1. ^ a b Lozzio, C.B.; Lozzio, B.B. (1975), "Human chronic myelogenous leukemia cell-line with positive Philadelphia chromosome", Blood 45 (3): 321–34, PMID 163658 
  2. ^ a b Drexler, H.G. (2000), The Leukemia-Lymphoma Cell Line Factsbook, San Diego: Academic Press 
  3. ^ Klein, E.; Ben-Bassat, H.; Neumann, H.; Ralph, P.; Zeuthen, J.; Polliack, A.; Vánky, F. (1976), "Properties of the K562 cell line, derived from a patient with chronic myeloid leukemia", International Journal of Cancer 18 (4): 421–31, doi:10.1002/ijc.2910180405, PMID 789258 
  4. ^ Andersson, L.C.; Nilsson, K.; Gahmberg, C.G. (1979), "K562 - A human erythroleukemic cell line", International Journal of Cancer 23 (2): 143–7, doi:10.1002/ijc.2910230202, PMID 367973 
  5. ^ Jongen-Lavrencic, M (2005). "BCR/ABL-mediated downregulation of genes implicated in cell adhesion and motility leads to impaired migration toward CCR7 ligands CCL19 and CCL21 in primary BCR/ABL-positive cells". Leukemia 19 (3): 373–380. doi:10.1038/sj.leu.2403626. PMID 15674360. 
  6. ^ Karimiani, EG; Marriage, F; Merritt, AJ; Burthem, J; Byers, RJ; Day, PJ (Mar 2014). "Single-cell analysis of K562 cells: an imatinib-resistant subpopulation is adherent and has upregulated expression of BCR-ABL mRNA and protein.". Experimental hematology 42 (3): 183–191.e5. doi:10.1016/j.exphem.2013.11.006. PMID 24269846. 
  7. ^ Lozzio, B.B.; Lozzio, C.B.; Bamberger, E.G.; Feliu, A.S. (1981), "A multipotential leukemia cell line (K-562) of human origin", Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 166 (4): 546–50, doi:10.3181/00379727-166-41106, PMID 7194480 
  8. ^ Lozzio, B.B.; Lozzio, C.B. (1979), "Properties and usefulness of the original K-562 human myelogenous leukemia cell line", Leukemia Research 3 (6): 363–70, doi:10.1016/0145-2126(79)90033-X, PMID 95026 
  9. ^ Britten, C.M.; Meyer, R.G.; Kreer, T.; Drexler, I.; Wölfel, T.; Herr, W. (2002), "The use of HLA-A*0201-transfected K562 as standard antigen-presenting cells for CD8(+) T lymphocytes in IFN-gamma ELISPOT assays", Journal of Immunological Methods 259 (1–2): 95–110, doi:10.1016/S0022-1759(01)00499-9, PMID 11730845 
  10. ^ Clark, R.E.; Dodi, I.A.; Hill, S.C.; Lill, J.R.; Aubert, G.; Macintyre, A.R.; Rojas, J.; Bourdon, A.; et al. (2001), "Direct evidence that leukemic cells present HLA-associated immunogenic peptides derived from the BCR-ABL b3a2 fusion protein", Blood 98 (10): 2887–93, doi:10.1182/blood.V98.10.2887, PMID 11698267 

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