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Mol Cell Biol. Jan 1985; 5(1): 259–262.
PMCID: PMC366702

NIH/3T3 cells transfected with human tumor DNA containing activated ras oncogenes express the metastatic phenotype in nude mice.


NIH/3T3 cells transfected with DNA from malignant human tumors produced experimental and spontaneous metastases in nude mice. In contrast, parent or spontaneously transformed NIH/3T3 cells failed to metastasize. The transfected clones contained either activated c-Harvey-ras or N-ras oncogenes. A representative clone (T71-17SA2) which was used to assess selected cellular and host factors relevant to the metastatic process produced lung metastases in 100% of the NIH nude mice recipients, secreted augmented levels of type IV collagenase, and invaded human amnion basement membrane in vitro. Expression of the metastatic phenotype was not related to decreased sensitivity to natural killer cells or macrophage-mediated cytotoxicity. Analysis of the cellular DNA from the T71-17SA2 transfectant and its corresponding metastases, both of which contained activated N-ras oncogenes, revealed a twofold increase in the N-ras-specific DNA sequences in the metastatic cells. Thus, transfection with human tumor DNA containing activated ras oncogenes can induce the complete metastatic phenotype in NIH/3T3 cells by a mechanism apparently unrelated to immune cell killing.

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Selected References

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