Gene Amplification in a Human Osteosarcoma Cell Line Results in the Persistence of the Original Chromosome and the Formation of Translocation Chromosomes

Mutat Res. 1992 May;276(3):241-60. doi: 10.1016/0165-1110(92)90011-w.


Although gene amplification, a process that is markedly enhanced in tumor cells, has been studied in many different cell systems, there is still controversy about the mechanism(s) involved in this process. It is still unclear what happens to the DNA sequences that become amplified, whether they remain present at their original location (conservative gene amplification) or whether gene amplification necessarily results in a deletion at the original location (non-conservative gene amplification). We have studied gene amplification in a human osteosarcoma cell line, starting from a cell clone which contains only one copy of a plasmid integrate. Independent amplificants, originating from this clone and containing elevated plasmid copy numbers, were isolated and analyzed. Based on previous observations, encompassing the persistence of single-copy DNA sequences besides amplified DNA sequences clustered at a different location in the independent amplificants, we proposed an amplification pathway including a local duplication step and transposition of the duplicated DNA to other chromosomal positions. Now we have extended our study to more independent amplificants. We prove that the single-copy plasmid-containing chromosomes in the different amplificants and the single-copy plasmid-containing chromosome in the original parental cell clone are indeed identical, namely a translocation chromosome composed of at least three parts of which two originate from chromosomes 14 and 17. We show that the unit of amplification and the unit of the proposed transposition event are at least 1.5 Mb. We also demonstrate that the amplified DNA sequences, present at genomic locations other than the original single-copy DNA sequences, are preferentially associated with chromosome 16. We find that the amplified DNA sequences are often located at or near a site of chromosome translocation involving chromosome 16. In one cell clone we detect the amplified DNA sequences in most of the cells to be located within a complete chromosome 16 while in a minority of cells the amplified sequences are located at or near a breakpoint on a translocation chromosome 16. This indicates that this amplification region is highly unstable and frequently gives rise to translocation events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Southern
  • Chromosomes / metabolism*
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Fluorescence
  • Gene Amplification / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Osteosarcoma / genetics*
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Translocation, Genetic / genetics*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured