Marked aneuploidy and loss of multiple chromosomes are hallmarks of cancer, but whether these events are only present in malignant cells is not known. In prior work, we showed that approximately half of spontaneous autosomal mutants isolated directly from normal kidney epithelium arose from loss of a marker chromosome 8 containing the wild type Aprt gene. Chromosome loss was detected by loss of heterozygosity (LOH) for all chromosome 8 polymorphic loci examined. To determine whether loss of chromosome 8 reflected a larger mitotic event, LOH was examined for polymorphic loci on 11 nonselected chromosomes in Aprt mutants that lost the selected chromosome 8 homologue. LOH events were detected for one or more nonselected chromosomes in 38% of these mutants. The additional LOH events also reflected apparent chromosome loss based on the molecular analysis. Metaphase spreads from mutants that lost chromosome 8 were markedly aneuploid, and chromosome painting revealed reduced levels for any chromosome shown to be lost with the LOH analysis. In contrast, LOH on nonselected chromosomes was infrequent in Aprt mutants exhibiting intragenic events or mitotic recombination for chromosome 8, and marked aneuploidy was absent. These observations suggest that the mechanism leading to chromosome loss in somatic mammalian cells is often not a simple nondisjunction event and instead could result from a single catastrophic event. They also suggest that cells with characteristics of malignancy are present in normal appearing tissue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research