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Nature. 1984 Aug 9-15;310(5977):508-11.

Transformation of NIH 3T3 cells by microinjection of Ha-ras p21 protein.


Alteration in gene structure has been shown to occur in some human tumours. These altered genes, termed oncogenes, were originally identified by their ability to induce foci of transformed cells on transfected mouse 3T3 cultures. The oncogene identified in the EJ/T24 human bladder carcinoma is similar to the transforming gene of BALB and Harvey murine sarcoma virus (MSV) and differs from its counterpart in normal cells by a single amino acid. All three of these Ha-ras genes direct the production of similar proteins (p21). While the ras gene appears to be involved in tumour formation in some situations, its role is unclear. The ras protein product (p21) binds guanine nucleotides and has a unique autophosphorylating activity, but no other enzymatic activity has been found. We report here the injection of purified Ha-ras p21 protein, made in Escherichia coli from the gene of BALB-MSV, into NIH 3T3 cells and show that the purified protein itself is sufficient to induce a transformed morphology. In addition, the injected protein stimulates quiescent cells to enter the S-phase of the cell cycle. This result clearly demonstrates that the ras gene functions directly through the protein product. It also establishes an assay for the protein which depends on its activity within a living cell. The transforming activity of a p21 ras protein equivalent to the product of the normal cellular ras gene, is also demonstrated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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