Transformation of normal human fibroblasts into immortalized cells with the mutant p53 gene and X-rays

Kazuo Fushimi, Mikio Iijima, Chong Gao, Tadashi Kondo, Toshiya Tsuji, Tomoko Hashimoto, Koichiro Mihara, Masayoshi Namba*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In vitro cell transformation is a valuable approach for studying the mechanisms of multistep carcinogenesis of human cells. Since immortalization is an essential step for in vitro neoplastic transformation of human cells, this study addresses the question of whether mutant p53 contributes to the immortalization process of human cells. The mutant p53 gene (mp53: codon273(Arg-His)) was introduced into normal human fibroblasts (OUMS-24 line) and a G418-resistant clone, OUMS-24/P6 line, was obtained. This clone showed an extended life span and chromosome abnormalities, but senesced at the 79th population doubling level (PDL). When these cells were subjected to intermittent X-ray treatment, they became an immortalized cell line (OUMS-24/P6X). Although these immortalized cells showed chromosome abnormalities, they were not tumorigenic. On the other hand, normal OUMS-24 cells into which mp53 had not been introduced were not immortalized by the same X-ray treatment. These results indicate that introduction and expression of mp53 alone were not sufficient for immortalization of human cells, and that mutations of the remaining wild-type p53 or other genes may have been necessary for immortalization. In fact, no expression of the wild-type p53 was detected in the immortalized cells by RT-PCR. Expression of p21, which is located downstream of p53, was remarkably reduced in the immortalized cells, resulting in an increase in cdk2 and cdc2 kinase activity. These findings indicate that the p53-p21 cascade may play some role in the immortalization of human cells. On the other hand, there was no significant difference in expression of proteins such as Rb, p16, cdk4, cdk6, cyclin A and cyclin D1 between the normal and immortalized human fibroblasts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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