Grundström J, Reimer JM, Magnusson SE, Nilsson G, Wernersson S, Hellman L
PLoS ONE 7 (10) e48308 [2012-10-31; online 2012-10-31]
Basophils are blood cells of low abundance associated with allergy, inflammation and parasite infections. To study the transcriptome of mature circulating basophils cells were purified from buffy coats by density gradient centrifugations and two-step magnetic cell sorting. However, after extensive analysis the cells were found to be transcriptionally inactive and almost completely lack functional mRNA. In order to obtain transcriptionally active immature basophils for analysis of their transcriptome, umbilical cord blood cells were therefore cultured in the presence of interleukin (IL)-3 for 9 days and basophils were enriched by removing non-basophils using magnetic cell sorting. The majority of purified cells demonstrated typical metachromatic staining with Alcian blue dye (95%) and expression of surface markers FcεRI and CD203c, indicating a pure population of cells with basophil-like phenotype. mRNA was extracted from these cells and used to construct a cDNA library with approximately 600 000 independent clones. This library served as tool to determine the mRNA frequencies for a number of hematopoietic marker proteins. It was shown that these cells express basophil/mast cell-specific transcripts, i.e. β-tryptase, serglycin and FcεRI α-chain, to a relatively low degree. In contrast, the library contained a high number of several eosinophil-associated transcripts such as: major basic protein (MBP), charcot leyden crystal (CLC), eosinophil cationic protein (ECP), eosinophil derived neurotoxin (EDN) and eosinophil peroxidase (EPO). Out of these transcripts, MBP and EPO were the most frequently observed, representing 8% and 3.2% of the total mRNA pool, respectively. Moreover, in a proteome analysis of cultured basophils we identified MBP and EPO as the two most prominent protein bands, suggesting a good correlation between protein and mRNA analyses of these cells. The mixed phenotype observed for these cells strengthens the conclusion that eosinophils and basophils are closely linked during human hematopoietic development. The dual phenotype also indicates that other cytokines than IL-3 or cell surface interactions are needed to obtain the full basophil specific phenotype in vivo.