Detection and sequence analysis of a nickel-induced mutation in a retroviral model system

Susanna M Chiocca, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


We have developed a novel way to assess the mutagenicity of environmentally important metal carcinogens, such as nickel, by creating a positive selection system based upon the conditional expression of a retroviral transforming gene. The target gene is the v-mos gene in MuSVts110, a murine retrovirus possessing a growth temperature dependent defect in expression of the transforming gene due to viral RNA splicing. In normal rat kidney cells infected with MuSVts110 (6m2 cells), splicing of the MuSVts110 RNA to form the mRNA from which the transforming protein, p85$\sp{\rm gag-mos}$, is translated is growth-temperature dependent, occurring at 33 C and below but not at 39 C and above. This splicing "defect" is mediated by cis-acting viral sequences. Nickel chloride treatment of 6m2 cells followed by growth at 39 C, allowed the selection of "revertant" cells which constitutively express p85$\sp{\rm gag-mos}$ due to stable changes in the viral RNA splicing phenotype, suggesting that nickel, a carcinogen whose mutagenicity has not been well established, could induce mutations in mammalian genes. We also show by direct sequencing of PCR-amplified integrated MuSVts110 DNA from a 6m2 nickel-revertant cell line that the nickel-induced mutation affecting the splicing phenotype is a cis-acting 70-base duplication of a region of the viral DNA surrounding the 3$\sp\prime$ splice site. These findings provide the first example of the molecular basis for a nickel-induced DNA lesion and establish the mutagenicity of this potent carcinogen.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Biology

Recommended Citation

Chiocca, Susanna M, "Detection and sequence analysis of a nickel-induced mutation in a retroviral model system" (1990). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9033106.