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Ha-ras oncogene effect on DNA content and chromatin supraorganization in benzo[a]pyrene-transformed human breast epithelial cells

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When transfected to benzo[a]pyrene (BP)-transformed MCF-10F human breast epithelial cells (BP1 cell line) the c-Ha-ras oncogene has proven to enhance the neoplastic changes initiated by exposure to BP, giving rise to an aggressive tumorigenic cell line, BP1-Tras. We have previously demonstrated by image analysis that BP affects the DNA content and the chromatin supraorganization of MCF-10F cells. Here Feulgen-stained BP1-Tras cells were studied by image analysis in order to evaluate possible additional changes in DNA content and chromatin texture induced by insertion of the ras oncogene. A high variability in DNA content also including polyploidy or near-polyploidy, and an increase in the packing states of the chromatin which became still condensed in BP1 cells were found in BP1-Tras cells. The results differed from those reported for the BP1-E1 cell line which is also an aggressive tumorigenic cell line, but was attained through progressive passages of BP-transformed cells. It was demonstrated that different patterns of changes in DNA content and chromatin organization may be involved in equally aggressive tumorigenic BP-transformed cell lines originated from the same cell line by different mechanisms.

Keywords: DNA content; Ha-ras; Human breast epithelial cells; benzo[a]pyrene; chromatin supraorganization; image analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Cell Biology, Institute of Biology, UNICAMP, 13083-970 Campinas, SP, Brazil 2: Breast Cancer Research Laboratory, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA19111, USA

Publication date: February 1, 1999

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