Send to

Choose Destination
Oncogene. 1992 Nov;7(11):2175-87.

Transgenes encoding mutant simian virus 40 large T antigens unmask phenotypic and functional constraints in thymic epithelial cells.

Author information

Department of Biotechnology, Ciba-Geigy Ltd, Basle, Switzerland.


Transgenes encoding simian virus 40 (SV40) T antigen (Tag) can cause hyperplastic or tumorigenic lesions of desired but also of unforeseen cellular origin. Unexpectedly the human growth hormone-releasing factor (GRF) gene promoter directs expression of SV40 Tag specifically in thymic epithelial (TE) cells. Expression starts in the neonate, in which GRF-Tag+ cells display strict numerical and spatial constraints. Tag supersedes mechanisms that constrain these features and GRF-Tag mice develop thymic hyperplasia. To characterize GRF-Tag+ TE cells and their putative normal counterparts we compared phenotypic and functional effects caused by transgenes encoding mutant large T antigens. This strategy is applicable to any situation in which T antigen is used to alter development. One large Tag mutant (K1 + 5080) does not cause thymic hyperplasia. GRF-Tag (K1 + 5080)+ TE cells display strict temporal and spatial constraints throughout life. TE cells expressing other mutant large T antigens that cause thymic hyperplasia do not obey these rules and reveal that phenotypically distinct GRF-Tag+ TE-cell stages exist in vivo. Analysis of conditional immortal GRF-Tag(tsA58)+ TE cells expressing a temperature-sensitive large Tag shows that large Tag blocks differentiation in these cells. Phenotype and functions in these cells are regulated by cellular differentiation and interleukin 4 (IL-4).

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center