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Cytogenet Cell Genet. 1992;60(3-4):190-3.

Detection of retinoblastoma gene copy number in metaphase chromosomes and interphase nuclei by fluorescence in situ hybridization.

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  • 1Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0808.


Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) was applied to detect the copy number of the retinoblastoma (RB1) tumor suppressor gene in metaphase chromosomes and interphase nuclei. We used 14 lambda phage clones spanning the whole RB1 gene region as a probe and obtained a specific hybridization signal in normal metaphase chromosomes at 13q14. Normal interphase nuclei showed two RB1 signals in about 90% of cases, whereas two cell lines with cytogenetically defined deletions involving the RB1 gene showed only one hybridization signal in about 80% of the nuclei. Analogous changes were detected in metaphase chromosomes. Multicolor FISH with subsets of the phage clones allowed visualization of subregions within the 200-kb gene in interphase nuclei. Analysis of clinical breast cancer samples showed that most of the cells contained two copies of the RB1 gene, even when restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis showed loss of heterozygosity (LOH) at the RB1 locus. This indicates that LOH at the RB1 locus in breast cancer cells probably involves mechanisms other than physical deletion.

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