In the accompanying work we demonstrated that the decline in expression of steroid 17α-hydroxylase in mass cultures and clones of adrenocortical cells is the result of a stochastic switching process which yields mixtures of expressing and nonexpressing cells. There is an apparent positive correlation between the replicative potential of adrenocortical cell cultures and the number of cells in the culture that can express 17α-hydroxylase. We investigated this by extending the cells' replicative potential by transfecting them with cloned SV40 virus. Cells from a senescent subclone, with very limited remaining replicative potential, were transfected. The cell population showed a progressive increase in growth rate and gave rise to a line of cells that expressed T antigen and which was apparently immortalized. Induction of mRNA for 17α-hydroxylase by cyclic AMP was absent in this line of cells, as it was in the senescent cells prior to transfection. The ceils remained responsive to gene induction by cyclic AMP as evidenced by increases in mRNA and activity for cholesterol side-chain cleavage. The absence of 17α-hydroxylase expression in this line was not the result of interference by SV40 T antigen. When early passage cells were transfected with pSV3neo, which contains the early region of SV40 and neo, and were selected with G418, SV40 T antigen-expressing lines were derived which showed high levels of expression of 17α-hydroxylase after induction with cyclic AMP. These cells maintained high levels of expression of 17α-hydroxylase through four successive recloning events, over a period of replication much longer than that achievable by nontransfected cells. Thus, transfection by SV40 can be used to dissociate effects of senescence on growth and differentiated gene expression. T antigen expression selectively affects growth, but preserves the state of expression of a differentiated function gene as it was prior to transfection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology