A genetic analysis of extinction: trans-dominant loci regulate expression of liver-specific traits in hepatoma hybrid cells.


Extinction is an operational term that refers to the lack of expression of tissue-specific traits that is generally observed in hybrid cells formed by fusing dissimilar cell types. To define the genetic basis of this phenomenon, a series of rat hepatoma x mouse fibroblast hybrids has been isolated and characterized. We report here that the extinction of hepatic marker traits in these clones was strictly correlated with the retention of five particular fibroblast chromosomes (autosomes 8, 9, 10, 11, and 13). In order to dissect this correlation into its component parts, hepatoma microcell hybrids containing single, specific fibroblast chromosomes were constructed. Hepatoma clones retaining only fibroblast chromosome 11 were specifically extinguished for liver-specific tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT) expression, while expression of four other hepatic traits and of numerous constitutive markers was unaffected. Furthermore, removal of fibroblast chromosome 11 from the populations by back-selection resulted in reexpression of TAT activity to full parental levels. These data define and localize a genetic locus, tissue-specific extinguisher-1 (Tse-1), which regulates hepatic TAT expression in trans. We also provide evidence that human Tse-1 resides on the homologous chromosome (human chromosome 17), and that hybrids retaining active Tse-1 loci lack TAT-specific mRNA.

  • Fournier RE
  • Killary AM
PubMed ID
Appears In
Cell, 1984, 38 (2)