To determine if expression of genes on the inactive X is inducible in human cells, we looked for reactivation events in a clone of fibroblasts transformed with origin-defective SV40. The karyotype of these cells was grossly heteroploid so that the aneuploidy associated with SV40 transformation occurs even in the absence of viral replication. This transformed clone, heterozygous for hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT), lacks HPRT activity, as the mutant allele is on the active X and the normal allele on the inactive X. Reactivation of the HPRT+allele on the inactive X was observed at a frequency of 6 x 10-5per cell and increased approximately eightfold following treatment with the cytidine analogs 5-azacytidine (5azaC) and 5-azadeoxycytidine. The fact that spontaneous reactivation is detectable in some clones, but not all, suggests that the environment of the SV40-transformed cell, although not sufficient to induce generalized derepression, increases the frequency of rare reactivation events. The methylation pattern at the HPRT locus revealed transformation-associated alterations that may have predisposed these cells to reactivation events, spontaneous as well as 5azaC-induced.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology