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Paper Chase

Altered growth of a human neuroendocrine carcinoma line after transfection of a major histocompatibility complex class I gene.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.. 6 1, 1989;86(12):4700-4.
Sunday ME, Isselbacher KJ, Gattoni-Celli S, Willett CG.

Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115.


The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules are known to serve as recognition elements for cytotoxic T cells in mediating the rejection of transplanted tumors. We demonstrate that MHC molecules may have nonimmune functions in modulating tumor cell growth in addition to their classical role in antitumor immunity. A human neuroendocrine carcinoma cell line, COLO 320, with low levels of endogenous class I expression was transfected with the murine H-2Ld gene. Eleven independent stable clones were established, four containing only pRSV-neo and seven also containing varying copy numbers of the transfected Ld gene. The ability of the different clones to grow as colonies in soft agar correlated strongly with the relative amounts of Ld antigen expression (r = 0.89; P less than 0.001). There was a weaker correlation between increased clonogenic ability and higher levels of Ld mRNA (r = 0.67; P less than 0.05). There was no correlation between clonogenic ability and relative expression of amplified c-myc gene or of integrated pRSV-neo. Furthermore, in nude mice, Ld antigen expression was associated with increased formation of metastatic lung colonies 6 weeks after intravenous injection of 10(5) cells. These observations are consistent with the concept that MHC class I antigens may have a role in modulating the growth potential of certain tumor cells independent of their involvement in immune responses.