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Cancer Res. 2004 Oct 1;64(19):6978-88.

Signaling and transcriptional changes critical for transformation of human cells by simian virus 40 small tumor antigen or protein phosphatase 2A B56gamma knockdown.

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  • 1Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


One set of genes sufficient for transformation of primary human cells uses the combination of Ha-Ras-V12, the telomerase catalytic subunit hTERT, SV40 large tumor antigen (LT), and SV40 small tumor antigen (ST). Whereas SV40 LT inactivates the retinoblastoma protein and p53, the contribution of ST is poorly understood. The essential helper function of ST requires a functional interaction with protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Here we have identified changes in gene expression induced by ST and show that ST mediates these changes through both PP2A-dependent and PP2A-independent mechanisms. Knockdown of PP2A B56gamma subunit can substitute for ST expression to fully transform cells expressing LT, hTERT, and Ras-V12. We also identify those genes affected similarly in two cell lines that have been fully transformed from a common parental line by two alternative mechanisms, namely ST expression or PP2A B56gamma subunit knockdown. ST altered expression of genes involved in proliferation, apoptosis, integrin signaling, development, immune responses, and transcriptional regulation. ST reduced surface expression of MHC class I molecules, consistent with a need for SV40 to evade immune detection. ST expression enabled cell cycle progression in reduced serum and src phosphorylation in anchorage-independent media, whereas B56gamma knockdown required normal serum levels for these phenotypes. Inhibitors of integrin and src signaling prevented anchorage-independent growth of transformed cells, suggesting that integrin and src activation are key ST-mediated events in transformation. Our data support a model in which ST promotes survival through constitutive integrin signaling, src phosphorylation, and nuclear factor kappaB activation, while inhibiting cell-cell adhesion pathways.

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