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Mol Med. 1996 Jul;2(4):469-78.

Identification of mRNAs differentially expressed in quiescence or in late G1 phase of the cell cycle in human breast cancer cells by using the differential display method.

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Division of Cell Growth and Regulation, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.



The decision for a cell to enter the DNA synthesis (S) phase of the cell cycle or to arrest in quiescence is likely to be determined by genes expressed in the late G1 phase, at the restriction point. Loss of restriction point control is associated with malignant cellular transformation and cancer. For this reason, identifying genes that are differentially expressed in late G1 phase versus quiescence is important for understanding the molecular basis of normal and malignant growth.


The differential display (DD) method detects mRNA species that are different between sets of mammalian cells, allowing their recovery and cloning of the corresponding cDNAs. Using this technique, we compared mRNAs from synchronized human breast cancer cells (21 PT) in quiescence and in late G1.


Six mRNAs differentially expressed in late G1 or in quiescence were identified. One mRNA expressed 10 hr after serum induction showed 99% homology to a peptide transporter involved in antigen presentation of the class I major histocompatibility complex (TAP-1) mRNA. Another mRNA expressed specifically in quiescence and down-regulated 2 hr following serum induction showed 98% homology to human NADP+ -dependent cytoplasmic malic enzyme (EC1.1.1.40) mRNA, which is an important enzyme in fatty acid synthesis and lipogenesis. Three others showed high homology to different mRNAs in the GeneBank, corresponding to genes having unknown functions. Finally, one mRNA revealed no significant homology to known genes in the GeneBank.


We conclude that DD is an efficient and powerful method for the identification of growth-related genes which may have a role in cancer development.

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