Chromosomal instability is correlated with telomere erosion and inactivation of G2 checkpoint function in human fibroblasts expressing human papillomavirus type 16 E6 oncoprotein

Abstract

Cell cycle checkpoints and tumor suppressor gene functions appear to be required for the maintenance of a stable genome in proliferating cells. In this study chromosomal destabilization was monitored in relation to telomere structure, lifespan control and G2 checkpoint function. Replicative senescence was inactivated in secondary cultures of human skin fibroblasts by expressing the human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) E6 oncoprotein to inactivate p53. Chromosome aberrations were enumerated during in vitro aging of isogenic control (F5neo) and HPV-16E6-expressing (F5E6) fibroblasts. We found that structural and numerical aberrations in chromosomes were significantly increased in F5E6 cells during aging in vitro and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis using chromosome-specific probes demonstrated the occurrence of rearrangements involving chromosome 4 and 6 in genetically unstable F5E6 cells. Flow cytometry and karyotypic analyses revealed increased polyploidy and aneuploidy in F5E6 cells only at passages >16, although these cells displayed defective mitotic spindle checkpoint function associated with inactivation of p53 at passages 5 and 16. G2 checkpoint function was confirmed to be gradually but progressively inactivated during in vitro aging of E6-expressing cells. Aging of F5neo fibroblasts was documented during in vitro passaging by induction of a senescence-associated marker, pH 6.0 lysosomal β-galactosidase. F5E6 cells displayed extension of in vitro lifespan and did not induce β-galactosidase at high passage. Erosion of telomeres during in vitro aging of telomerase-negative F5neo cells was demonstrated by Southern hybridization and by quantitative FISH analysis on an individual cell level. Telomeric signals diminished continuously as F5neo cells aged in vitro being reduced by 80% near the time of replicative senescence. Telomeric signals detected by FISH also decreased continuously during aging of telomerase-negative F5E6 cells, but telomeres appeared to be stabilized at passage 34 when telomerase was expressed. Chromosomal instability in E6-expressing cells was correlated (P<0.05) with both loss of telomeric signals and inactivation of G2 checkpoint function. The results suggest that chromosomal stability depends upon a complex interaction among the systems of telomere length maintenance and cell cycle checkpoints.

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Correspondence to William K Kaufmann.

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Filatov, L., Golubovskaya, V., Hurt, J. et al. Chromosomal instability is correlated with telomere erosion and inactivation of G2 checkpoint function in human fibroblasts expressing human papillomavirus type 16 E6 oncoprotein. Oncogene 16, 1825–1838 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.onc.1201711

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Keywords

  • chromosome
  • instability
  • telomere
  • cell cycle
  • checkpoint

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