Cytological, flow cytometric, and molecular analysis of the rapid evolution of mammalian chromosomes containing highly amplified DNA sequences

Research paper by B. Fendrock, M. Destrempes, R. J. Kaufman, S. A. Latt

Indexed on: 01 Mar '86Published on: 01 Mar '86Published in: Histochemistry


Transfection of a mouse dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) cDNA contained in a plasmid “expression vector” into DHFR deficient Chinese hamster cells, followed by progressive selection of cells in increasing concentrations of methotrexate (MTX), leads to marked amplification of the exogenous DHFR sequences in the recipient hamster cells. The gene amplification is evident at the cytological level, in the form of homogeneously staining chromosomal regions (HRSs), at a gene expression level, in the form of fluorescein-methotrexate binding, and at the DNA level. Flow sorting, based on variable fluorescein-MTX binding, or direct cellular cloning, followed by chromosome analysis, revealed intercellular heterogeneity of HSRs in size and distribution.This suggested that there was a rapid evolution of HSRs an MTX-resistant transfectants. Chromosomal analysis of HSR evolution in situ, by examining individual colonies presumably derived from one or a few cells, underscored this impression of chromosome structural fluidity. Rates of HSR change in excess of 0.01 per cell division, increased by low doses of the recombinogen, mitomycin C were detected. The Chinese hamster DHFR transfectants described should be amenable to detailed, coordinate cytological and molecular characterization. Such an analysis should contribute to an understanding of processes such as homologous recombination in mediating HSR evolution in mammalian chromosomes.