Normal human diploid cells, TIG-1, ceased to proliferate at about the 62 population doubling level (PDL). Transformed clones isolated from TIG-1 cells infected with wtSV40 and those with tsA900 SV40 cultured at 34 degrees C were subcultured up to about 80 PDL. When the culture temperature of tsA SV40-transformed cells was shifted from 34 to 39.5 degrees C at 51 PDL, the growth curve of these transformed cells changed to that of normal young cells.
Infection of normal human diploid fibroblasts (HF) with the DNA tumor virus simian virus 40 (SV) leads to an extension of lifespan and concomitant increase in the levels of the viral large tumor antigen (T antigen) and the cellular protein p53. The intracellular localization of T antigen and p53 was mostly nuclear in both SVpre-crisis and SVpost-crisis cells, however certain population doubling (PD) of the SVpre-crisis cells exhibited some cytoplasmic staining. The DNA content of SVpre-crisis cells shifted to tetraploidy and the SVpost-crisis cells were near-tetraploid.
For several decades simian virus 40 (SV40) early region genes have been used as a means of generating immortalized human cell lines; however, the molecular mechanisms of this process have begun to be understood only recently. SV40-induced immortalization proceeds via two phases. In the first phase ("lifespan extension"), cells continue proliferating for a limited number of population doublings beyond the point at which normal cells undergo senescence.
SV40 infection of human cells results in both transformation and lytic infection. We have used origin-defective viral mutants which are unable to replicate in permissive cells to help analysis of transformation. Expression of large T antigen (T ag) and small t antigen results in the altered growth phenotypes characteristic of transformation in other species. Human diploid fibroblasts (HF) have a limited lifespan and undergo senescence; T ag results in extension of lifespan but only in rare cases are the cells capable of continuous growth and are immortal.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Human fibroblasts whose lifespan in culture has been extended by expression of a viral oncogene eventually undergo a growth crisis marked by failure to proliferate. It has been proposed that telomere shortening in these cells is the property that limits their proliferation. Here we report that ectopic expression of the wild-type reverse transcriptase protein (hTERT) of human telomerase averts crisis, at the same time reducing the frequency of dicentric and abnormal chromosomes.