Title: Chinese hamster cells expressing antisense to metallothionein become spontaneous mutators.
Authors: Rossman, T G; Goncharova, E I; Nádas, A; Dolzhanskaya, N
Published In Mutat Res, (1997 Jan 03)
Abstract: The functions of metallothioneins (MTs) have been debated for at least a decade. Because it seems unlikely that they evolved only to protect cells against exogenous heavy metals, it has been suggested that MTs have roles in scavenging reactive intermediates, controlling zinc and copper homeostasis, and controlling transfer of zinc to transcription factors and other proteins. Previously, we demonstrated that Chinese hamster G12 cells which overexpress MT have greatly reduced spontaneous mutation rates, suggesting that MT evolved to prevent spontaneous mutagenesis induced by free nuclear zinc ions. We have now isolated G12 transfectants which express antisense RNA to MT. Immunofluorescent staining reveals MT protein in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm in parental cells. A clone expressing high levels of antisense RNA (AMT30) shows reduced basal and induced levels of MT protein. AMT30 cells are hypersensitive to cadmium, zinc, copper and mercury chlorides as well as to menadione. Glutathione levels in AMT30 and G12 cells do not differ. AMT30 cells are spontaneous mutators, showing a spontaneous mutation rate 5-10 times that of G12 cells or G12 cells transfected with vector alone. Only transfectants which show a high level of MT antisense expression (i.e., AMT30) had greatly elevated spontaneous mutation rates. These results support our hypothesis that a major role of MT is to act as an endogenous antimutagen probably via scavenging of reactive intermediates in the nucleus. AMT30 cells should be useful in delineating the sources of spontaneous mutagenesis.
PubMed ID: 9015156
MeSH Terms: Animals; Cadmium Chloride/pharmacology; Cell Nucleus/genetics; Cells, Cultured; Chlorides/pharmacology; Cloning, Molecular; Copper/pharmacology; Cricetinae; Cricetulus; Cytoplasm/genetics; Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect; Gene Expression Regulation*; Genetic Vectors; Mercuric Chloride/pharmacology; Metallothionein/biosynthesis*; Metallothionein/genetics*; Mutagenesis/drug effects*; RNA, Antisense/biosynthesis*; RNA, Antisense/genetics*; Ribonucleases/metabolism; Transcription, Genetic; Transfection; Vitamin K/pharmacology; Zinc Compounds/pharmacology