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Tumorigenic Transformation of Mammalian Cells Induced by a Normal Human Gene Homologous to the Oncogene of Harvey Murine Sarcoma Virus

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Abstract

A normal human gene homologous to the p21 ras oncogene of Harvey murine sarcoma virus induced oncogenic transformation and high p21 ras levels in murine fibroblasts when this gene was ligated to a control element (the long terminal repeat) from a murine or feline retrovirus. These results indicate that high levels of a gene product encoded by a normal human oncogene can induce tumorigenic transformation.
© Nature Publishing Group1982
© Nature Publishing Group1982
© Nature Publishing Group1982
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Rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells differentiate to neuronal cells in response to nerve growth factor. It has been shown that microinjection of oncogenic but not proto-oncogenic p21 protein induces morphological differentiation in PC12 cells (D. Bar-Sagi and J. R. Feramisco, Cell 42:841-848, 1985). In this paper we describe a recombinant human proto-oncogenic Ha-ras protein which can effectively induce neurite extension of PC12 cells when microinjected as a complex with guanosine-5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate). The protein was found to be less effective when complexed with GTP. On the other hand, an oncogenic ras protein coinjected with guanosine-5'-O-(2-thiodiphosphate) was entirely inactive. These results indicate that the binary p21-GTP complex, but not the p21-GDP complex, is effective in inducing differentiation in PC12 cells, irrespective of the oncogenic or the proto-oncogenic protein.
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We isolated cDNA clones corresponding to the normal human Ki-ras2 gene and to the transforming allele of the Ki-ras2 gene present in the human colon carcinoma cell line SW480. These two cDNAs encode p21 proteins which differ only at the amino acid at position 12. The normal cDNA encodes a glycine at this position, and the transforming allele encodes a valine. Expression of these cDNAs indicates that this amino acid 12 alteration confers oncogenic activity on the mutated gene. Analysis of the relationship of the cDNAs and Kirsten sarcoma virus ras gene to a genomic clone allowed us to identify two alternative 3' coding exons for the Ki-ras2 gene, suggesting that the Ki-ras2 gene encodes two p21 proteins which differ at their carboxy termini. Our data also show that only one of the p21s is necessary to convert cells to a tumorigenic phenotype.
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We have developed a sensitive bioassay for transforming genes based on the tumorigenicity of cotransfected NIH3T3 cells in nude mice. The assay differs substantially from the NIH3T3 focus assay. Using it, we have detected the transfer of three transforming genes from the DNA of MCF-7, a human mammary carcinoma cell line. One of these is N-ras, which is amplified in MCF-7 DNA. The other two, which we have called mcf2 and mcf3, do not appear to be related to known oncogenes. We cannot detect their transfer by using the NIH3T3 focus assay. We do not yet know whether either mcf2 or mcf3 is associated with genetic abnormalities in MCF-7 cells.
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The EJ bladder carcinoma oncogene is activated by a point mutation in the c-rasH proto-oncogene at the 12th amino acid codon. In an attempt to understand the mechanism of oncogenic activation, a comparative study was undertaken to examine the metabolic turnover and subcellular localization of the p21 protein encoded by the EJ oncogene, the viral oncogene, and its normal cellular homolog. Pulse-labeling experiments indicated that both c-ras p21 proteins were synthesized by a very similar pathway, as was observed for the viral p21 protein of Harvey murine sarcoma virus. The pro-p21 proteins were detected in free cytosol, and the processed products were associated with plasma membrane. The intracellular half-life of p21 proteins was determined by pulse-labeling and chasing in the presence of excess unlabeled methionine. Although both p21 proteins of EJ and the normal c-ras genes which are not phosphorylated have a half-life of 20 h, the viral p21 protein of Harvey murine sarcoma virus which includes a phosphorylated form is much more stable in cells, having a half-life of 42 h, apparently due to phosphorylation.
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We cloned a Drosophila melanogaster ras gene (Dmras64B) on the basis of its homology to the ras oncogen from Harvey murine sarcoma virus. This gene mapped at chromosomal position 64B on the left arm of the third chromosome. Sequencing of Dmras64B revealed extensive amino acid homology with the proteins encoded by the human and Saccharomyces cerevisiae ras genes. The coding region of the Drosophila gene is interrupted by two introns located in different positions with respect to its human counterpart. Dmras64B encodes three different RNAs (1.6, 2.1, and 2.6 kilobases long) that are constantly expressed throughout the development of the fly.
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Recent work has shown that DNA sequences related to the mammalian ras proto-oncogenes are highly conserved in eucaryotic evolution. A monoclonal antibody (Y13-259) to mammalian p21ras specifically precipitated a 23,000-molecular-weight protein (p23) from lysates of Dictyostelium discoideum amoebae. Tryptic peptide analysis indicated that D. discoideum p23 was closely related in its primary structure to mammalian p21ras. p23 was apparently derived by post-translational modification of a 24,000-molecular-weight primary gene product. The amount of p23 was highest in growing amoebae, but declined markedly with the onset of differentiation such that by fruiting body formation there was less than 10% of the amoeboid level. The rate of p23 synthesis dropped rapidly during aggregation, rose transiently during pseudoplasmodial formation, and then declined during the terminal stages of differentiation. There was, therefore, a strong correlation between the expression of the ras-related protein p23 and cell proliferation of D. discoideum.
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The transforming activity of naturally arising ras oncogenes results from point mutations that affect residue 12 or 61 of the encoded 21-kilodalton protein (p21). By use of site-directed mutagenesis, we showed that deletions and insertions of amino acid residues in the region of residue 12 are also effective in conferring oncogenic activity on p21. Common to these various alterations is the disruption that they create in this domain of the protein, which we propose results in the inactivation of a normal function of the protein.
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Syrian hamster embryo cells transformed by adenovirus type 2 (Ad2) or simian virus 40 (SV40) differ markedly in morphology, tumorigenicity, and susceptibility to in vitro lysis by nonspecific cytotoxic cells. Hybrid cells formed by fusing Ad2- and SV40-transformed Syrian hamster embryo cells may express only SV40 T antigens or both SV40 and Ad2 T antigens. Hybrids that express only SV40 T antigens are indistinguishable from the nonhybrid SV40-transformed phenotype, whereas hybrid cells that express T antigens from both viruses closely resemble the nonhybrid parental Ad2-transformed phenotype. Because these hybrid cells have been useful in the study of neoplastic transformation, we determined the amount of viral antigens that they accumulate in an attempt to correlate the level of expression of the transforming viral genes with some of their phenotypic properties. Hybrid cells that expressed proteins from both viruses showed reduced levels of SV40 T antigens compared with those of hybrid cells that did not express Ad2 T antigens. We also found that the production of several cellular proteins that influence cytomorphology was inhibited in hybrid and nonhybrid cells that expressed Ad2 T antigens, and the repression of these cellular proteins correlated with a change in cytomorphology from fibroblastic to spherical. Finally, we showed that the susceptibility of our hybrid cells to in vitro lysis by natural killer cells and activated macrophages, two putative host-effector cells involved in defense against neoplasia, correlated closely with the level of expression of a 58,000-dalton Ad2 protein. The results reported here, together with the results of previous studies, indicate that the oncogenic potential of hybrid cells that express both Ad2 and SV40 antigens is extremely sensitive to Ad2 expression, whereas other phenotypic properties depend on Ad2 expression in a dose-dependent manner.
Article
The cellular homologs of the Harvey and Kirsten murine sarcoma virus oncogenes comprise a multigene family, ras, that displays striking evolutionary conservation. We recently reported [DeFeo-Jones et al., Nature (London) 306:707-709, 1983] the cloning of two ras homologs from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The nucleotide sequences of these genes predict polypeptides that show remarkable homology to p21, the mammalian ras gene product. We have also found proteins in yeast lysates with serological cross-reactivity to p21 (Papageorge et al., Mol. Cell. Biol. 4:23-29, 1984). In this work, we explored the relationship between the immunoprecipitated proteins and the yeast ras genes. We show that both ras genes are expressed in the wild-type cell. Furthermore, we demonstrate by in vitro translation of hybrid-selected RASsc1 mRNA and immunoprecipitation of the translation products that the cloned RASsc1 gene encodes the proteins immunoprecipitated from yeast lysates by anti-p21 monoclonal antibody. Finally, we used anti-p21 monoclonal antibodies to detect a guanine nucleotide binding activity in yeast lysates. The structural and biochemical homologies between ras gene products of S. cerevisiae and mammalian cells suggest that information obtained by genetic analysis of ras function in a lower eucaryote should be applicable to higher organisms as well.
Article
Single amino acid substitutions were introduced into a region of the rasH protein (residues 116, 117, and 119) homologous to a variety of diverse GTP-binding proteins. Each of the mutant p21 proteins displayed a significant reduction (10- to 5,000-fold) in GTP binding affinity. Activated rasH proteins deficient in GTP binding were unaltered in their ability to morphologically transform NIH 3T3 cells.
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A Sprague-Dawley (SD-1) rat embryo culture, at low passage level, released an endogenous ecotropic type C virus (SD-RaLV) and after about 20 further passages it underwent spontaneous transformation. The SD-RaLV, released from the transformed cells, did not cause rapid transformation of other rat embryo cells. However, when the transformed cells were repeatedly cocultivated with three different chemically transformed and serially transplanted rat tumor cell lines (sarcoma, carcinoma, and hepatoma), rapidly fibroblast-transforming “sarcoma” viruses (RaSV) were recovered after each attempt. RaSV was not recovered from one of these tumor cell lines before transplantation, nor could focus-forming virus be rescued from these same tumor cells by cocultivation with other cells releasing heterologous type C viruses. Foci were induced on normal rat kidney and several other rat embryo cell strains within 7-15 days and both productive and nonproductive NRK clones were derived. The productive clones were positive for rat specific p30 antigen and the RaSVs released were serially transmitted to other rat embryo cells. RaSV genome was rescued from the nonproductive clones by superinfection with SD-RaLV, wild rat type C virus, and several heterologous type C viruses. These observations appear to represent naturally occurring transformation-specific (src) genes being recovered in vitro in the form of stable “sarcoma” viruses. These viruses differ from the Kirsten and Harvey strains of murine sarcoma virus in that they apparently contain no MuLV sequences and are of purely rat origin.
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Supercoiled Harvey sarcoma virus (Ha-SV) DNA was extracted from newly infected cells by the Hirt procedure, enriched by preparative agarose gel electrophoresis, and digested with EcoRI, which cleaved the viral DNA at a unique site. The linearized Ha-SV DNA was then inserted into lambda gtWESlambda B at the EcoRI site and cloned in an approved EK2 host. Ha-SV DNA inserts from six independently derived recombinant clones have been analyzed by restriction endonuclease digestion, molecular hybridization, electron microscopy, and infectivity. Four of the Ha-SV DNA inserts were identical, contained about 6.0 kilobase pairs (kbp), and comigrated in agarose gels with the infectious, unintegrated, linear Ha-SV DNA. One insert was approximately 0.65 kbp smaller (5.35 kbp) and one was approximately 0.65 kpb larger (6.65 kpb) than the 6.0 kpb inserts. R-looping with Ha-SV RNA revealed that the small (5.35 kbp) insert contained one copy of the Ha-SV RNA. Preliminary restriction endonuclease digestion of the recombinant DNAs suggested that the middle-size inserts contained a 0.65-kbp tandem duplication of sequences present only one in the small-size insert; this duplication corresponded to the 0.65-kpb terminal duplication of the unintegrated linear Ha-SV DNA. The large-size insert apparently contained a tandem triplication of these terminally located sequences. DNA of all three sized inserts induced foci in NIH 3T3 cells, and focus-forming activity could be rescued from the transformed cells by superinfection with helper virus. Infectivity followed single-hit kinetics, suggesting that the foci were induced by a single molecule.
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A new technique for assaying infectivity of adenovirus 5 DNA has been developed. Viral DNA was diluted in isotonic saline containing phosphate at a low concentration, and calcium chloride was added, resulting in the formation of a calcium phosphate precipitate. DNA coprecipitated with the calcium phosphate and, when the resulting suspension was added to human KB cell monolayers, became adsorbed to the cells. Following adsorption, uptake of DNA into the cells occurred during an incubation in liquid medium at 37 ° in the continued presence of extra calcium chloride.For adenovirus 5 DNA the assay resulted in up to 100-fold more plaques than could be obtained using DEAE-dextran. Furthermore a reproducible relationship between amounts of DNA inoculated per culture and numbers of plaques produced was demonstrated. The assay was most efficient at high DNA concentrations (10–30 μg/ml); below this range the addition of carrier DNA was necessary for optimum results.In addition to adenovirus 5 DNA, the technique has been used successfully to assay infectivity of DNA from adenovirus 1 and simian virus 40.
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A similar protein of 21,000 MW (p21) coded for by Harvey or Kirsten murine sarcoma virus has been identified in nonproducer cells transformed by these two viruses. Antisera prepared from rats bearing tumors induced by syngeneic transplantation of NRK cells transformed by Harvey murine sarcoma virus (Ha-MuSV) specifically precipitated the Ha-MuSV p21 from a nonproducer Balb/c mouse cell and a nonproducer dog cell transformed by HaMuSV. The same antisera also precipitated a similar protein, Ki-MuSV p21, from a nonproducer mink cell transformed by Kirsten murine sarcoma virus (Ki-MuSV). Both the p21 of Ha-MuSV and of Ki-MuSV are phosphoproteins. Previous studies have reported a virus-specific p21 polypeptide from translation of Ha-MuSV RNA in cell-free protein synthesis systems (W. P. Parks and E. M. Scolnick, 1977, J. Virol.22, 711–719; T. Y. Shih, D. R. Williams, M. O. Weeks, J. M. Maryak, W. C. Vass, and E. M. Scolnick, 1978, J. Virol.27, 45–55). This p21 protein was specifically precipitated by the same anti-tumor sera. Similarly, a p21 polypeptide translated from Ki-MuSV RNA was also specifically precipitated by the antitumor sera. Therefore, it is concluded that the p21 of Ha-MuSV and Ki-MuSV are homologous proteins coded for by homologous sequences found in the recombinant genomes of Ha-MuSV and Ki-MuSV.
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We have studied the unintegrated infectious DNA of Harvey sarcoma virus (Ha-SV) and Moloney leukemia virus (Mo-MuLV). The source of infectious viral DNA was the Hirt supernatant fraction from cells acutely infected with Ha-SV and Mo-MuLV. To obtain a direct quantitative assay for infectious viral DNA, recipient mouse cells were first exposed to calcium phosphate-precipitated viral DNA and then treated with dimethyl sulfoxide. Infectivity was monitored by focus formation for Ha-SV and XC plaque formation for Mo-MuLV. The viral DNA titration pattern followed single-hit kinetics for both foci and plaques, indicating that a single molecule carried information for each function. Focus-forming and plaque-forming activity were present in different molecules, since these two biological activities could be separated from each other by agarose gel electrophoresis. The focus-forming molecule was linear DNA with a molecular weight of about 4 x 10(6) daltons. The focus-forming activity of the viral DNA was sensitive to EcoRI and resistant to XhoI restriction endonucleases, whereas the plaque-forming activity was resistant to EcoRI and sensitive to XhoI. The generation of helper-independent foci indicates that Ha-SV DNA can transform mouse cells in the absence of helper virus or its proteins.
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The longest DNA molecules synthesized by endogenous reverse transcription in detergent-permeabilized Moloney murine sarcoma virus (Mo-MSV) virions (clone G8-124) are double-stranded DNA molecules of 5,8 kilobase pairs (kbp). This DNA species has been purified by sedimentation of total in vitro synthesized Mo-MSV DNA through neutral sucrose gradients. A physical map of the positions of the cleavage sites for a series of restriction endonucleases has been derived for this 5.8 kbp DNA. Mo-MSV DNA synthesized in vitro was found to induce morphological transformation of NIH-3T3 mouse fibroblasts upon transfection. The foci had a morphology indistinguishable from that of Mo-MSV-induced foci, and the induced transformed phenotype was stable. The 5.8 kbp double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) purified by agarose gel electrophoresis also induced focal transformation. Furthermore, gel-purified, restriction endonuclease-generated fragments of 5.8 kbp dsDNA containing the region from 2.8--4.9 kbp on the physical map of Mo-MSV DNA were able to induce foci. In contrast, endonuclease-generated DNA fragments lacking this region on the map were unable to transform cells upon transfection. When transformants derived by transfection with 5.8 kbp dsDNA were infected with Moloney murine leukemia virus (Mo-MLV) helper virus, Mo-MSV was rescued from a small portion of these cells, suggesting the establishment of the complete viral genome in these cells. One Mo-MSV DNA fragment, spanning 2.8--4.9 kbp on the physical map, was generated by cleavage of 5.8 kbp DNA with endonucleases Hind III + Sal I and currently represents our maximum estimate for the size of the transforming region of the Mo-MSV genome. This fragment includes the Mo-MSV sequences which are found in the DNA of uninfected mouse cells.
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DNA was prepared from 15 different mouse and rat cell lines transformed by chemical carcinogens in vitro and in vivo. These DNAs were applied to NIH3T3 mouse fibroblast cultures by using the calcium phosphate transfection technique. DNAs of five donor lines were able to induce foci on the recipient monolayers. Ten other donor DNAs yielded few or no foci. DNAs from control, nontransformed parental cell lines induced few or no foci. Chromosomes were transfected from one donor whose naked DNA was unable to induce foci, and morphologic transformation of recipients was observed. These experiments prove that in five of these cell lines the chemically induced phenotype is encoded in DNA, and the sequences specifying the transformed phenotype behave as a dominant allele in the NIH3T3 recipient cells. The sequences encoding the transformation are likely found on a single fragment of DNA.
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We have screened different cultured cell lines established from human tumors for the ability of their DNAs to induce transformed foci in NIH/3T3 cells. Based on restriction endonuclease digestions and the presence of human sequences in mouse transformants, we conclude that five of these human tumor cell lines contain a gene or genes capable of transforming mouse cells and that at least three different transforming genes are present in these five lines. Three cell lines, two derived from lung carcinomas and one derived from a colon carcinoma, transfer the same or closely related human genes. If these transforming genes are mediating the tumorigenic state of the human cells, then our results indicate that overlapping pathways leading to tumorigenesis may arise independently.
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A 15.0-kilobase (kb) Eco RI DNA fragment from normal mouse Balb/c genomic DNA that contains sequences (sarc) homologous to the acquired cell sequences (src) of Moloney sarcoma virus (MSV) has been cloned in phage lambda. The sarc region (1.2 to 1.3 kb) of the 15.0-kb cell fragment is indistinguishable from the src region of two isolates of MSV as judged by heteroduplex and restriction endonuclease analyses. The cellular sequences flanking sarc show no homology to other MSV sequences. Whereas cloned subgenomic portions of MSV that contain src transformed NIH-3T3 cells in vitro, the cloned sarc fragment is inactive.
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Using electron microscopic immunocytochemistry, we have investigated the intracellular location of the src protein (p21) in cells transformed by the Harvey strain of Murine Sarcoma Virus (Ha-MSV). Antibodies to p21 were derived from tumor-bearing rats inoculated with Ha-NRK cells. The distribution of p21 in intracellular sites in MDCK dog cells transformed by Ha-MSV was examined and quantified using a recently developed immunocytochemical technique. More than 95% of p21 was localized to the inner surface of the plasma membrane in these Ha-MSV-transformed cells; p21 was not exposed on the outside surface of the plasma membrane. A similar location was observed by immunofluorescence in other Ha-MSV-transformed cell lines, including cells derived from rat, mouse and mink. This finding, and the previous demonstration that p60src of avian sarcoma virus is concentrated on the inner surface of the plasma membrane, suggests that the plasma membrane is a major site of action for transforming proteins.