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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1988 Oct;85(20):7670-4.

Asbestos fibers mediate transformation of monkey cells by exogenous plasmid DNA.

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Brookdale Center for Molecular Biology, City University of New York, NY 10029.

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  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1989 Feb;86(3):997.


We have tested the ability of chrysotile asbestos fibers to introduce plasmid DNA into monkey COS-7 cells and the ability of this DNA to function in both replication and gene expression. Chrysotile fibers are at least as effective as calcium phosphate in standard transfection assays at optimal ratios of asbestos to DNA. After transfection with chrysotile, a minor percentage of introduced plasmid DNA bearing a simian virus 40 origin of replication replicates after 24 hr. Fragmentation of entering DNA is more prominent with asbestos than with calcium phosphate, and after 72 hr most DNA introduced by asbestos is associated with chromosomal DNA. Cells transfected with plasmid p11-4, bearing the p53 protooncogene, express this gene. Cells transfected with pSV2-neo express a gene conferring resistance of antibiotic G418, allowing isolation of colonies of transformed cells after 18 days. The introduction of exogenous DNA into eukaryotic cells could cause mutations in several ways and thus contribute to asbestos-induced oncogenesis.

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