Differential gene expression in SV40-mediated immortalization of human fibroblasts

Jose Pardinas, Zeng Pang, Jeanmarie Houghton, Vaseem Palejwala, Robert J. Donnelly, Karen Hubbard, Michael B. Small, Harvey L. Ozer

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8 Scopus citations


Normal human diploid fibroblasts (HF) have a limited life span, undergo senescence, and rarely, if ever, spontaneously immortalize in culture. introduction of the gene for T antigen encoded by the DNA virus SV40 extends the life span of HF and increases the frequency of immortalization; however, immortalization requires both T-dependent and T-independent functions. We previously generated independent SV40-transformed non-immortal (pre-immortal) HF cell lines from which we then obtained immortal sublines as part of a multifaceted approach to identify functions responsible for immortalization. In this study we undertook a search for cellular mRNAs which are differentially expressed upon immortalization. A λcDNA library was prepared from a pre-immortal SV40-transformed HF (HF-C). We screened the library with a subtracted probe enriched for sequences present in HF-C and reduced in immortal AR5 cells. A more limited screen was also employed for sequences overexpressed in AR5 using a different strategy. Alterations in the level of mRNAs in AR5 encoding functions relevant to signal transduction pathways were identified; however, most cDNAs encoded novel sequences. In an effort to clarify which of the altered mRNAs are most relevant to immortalization, we performed Northern analysis with RNA prepared from three paired sets of independent pre-immortal and immortal (4 cell lines) SV40-transformants using eight cloned cDNAs which show reduced expression in AR5. Three of these were reduced in additional immortal cell lines as well; one, J4-4 (unknown function) is reduced in all the immortal cell lines tested; a second, J4-3 (possible PP2C type phosphatase) is reduced in 2 of the 3 matched sets; and a third, J2-2 (unknown function) is reduced in 2 unrelated immortal cell lines. Although the roles of these genes are as yet unclear, their further analysis should extend our understanding of the molecular bases for immortalization. In particular, the patterns of expression of J4-4 and J4-3 strongly suggest that they are involved in the process of immortalization and/or can serve as target genes for assessing regulators of gene expression in this process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-335
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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