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J Cell Biochem. 1994 Jan;54(1):47-55.

Influence of DNA replication inhibition on expression of cell growth and tissue-specific genes in osteoblasts and osteosarcoma cells.

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  • 1University of Massachusetts Medical Center, Worcester 01655.


Interrelationships between proliferation and expression of cell growth as well as bone cell-related genes were examined from two standpoints. First, the consequence of downregulating proliferation by DNA synthesis inhibition on expression of a cell cycle-regulated histone gene and genes associated with development of the bone cell phenotype (type I collagen, alkaline phosphatase, osteopontin, and osteocalcin) was investigated. Second, the requirement for stringent growth control to support functional relationships between expression of proliferation and differentiation-related genes was explored. Parameters of cell growth and osteoblast-related gene expression in primary cultures of normal diploid osteoblasts, that initially express proliferation-dependent genes and subsequently postproliferative genes associated with mature bone cell phenotypic properties, were compared to those operative in ROS 17/2.8 osteosarcoma cells that concomitantly express cell growth and mature osteoblast phenotypic genes. Our findings indicate that in both normal diploid osteoblasts and osteosarcoma cells, expression of the cell cycle regulated histone genes is tightly coupled with DNA synthesis and controlled predominantly at a posttranscriptional level. Inhibition of proliferation by blocking DNA synthesis with hydroxyurea upregulates a subset of developmentally expressed genes that postproliferatively support progressive establishment of mature osteoblast phenotypic properties (e.g., alkaline phosphatase, type 1 collagen, and osteopontin). However, the osteocalcin gene, which is expressed during the final stage of osteoblast differentiation when extracellular matrix mineralization occurs, is not upregulated. Variations in the extent to which inhibition of proliferation in normal diploid osteoblasts and in ROS 17/2.8 osteosarcoma cells selectively affects transcription and cellular levels of mRNA transcripts from bone cell-related genes (e.g., osteocalcin) may reflect modifications in proliferation/differentiation interrelationships when stringent growth control is abrogated.

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