Immortalisation of human oesophageal epithelial cells by a recombinant SV40 adenovirus vector

Br J Cancer. 1995 Apr;71(4):819-25. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1995.158.


We introduced the origin-defective SV40 early gene into cultured human oesophageal epithelial cells by infection of a recombinant SV40 adenovirus vector. The virus-infected cells formed colonies 3-4 weeks after infection in medium containing fetal calf serum. When the cells derived from 'serum-resistant' colonies were then maintained in the serum-free medium with a low calcium ion concentration, some of them passed the cell crisis and kept growing for over 12 months. These cells, regarded as immortalised cells, resembled the primarily cultured oesophageal epithelial cells in morphology and had some of their original characteristics. Treatment of the cells with a high calcium concentration induced phenotypic changes. These cells still responded to transforming growth factor beta. When the immortalised cells were injected into severe combined immunodeficient mice, they transiently formed epithelial cysts, although the typical differentiation pattern of the oesophageal epithelium was not observed. These cysts regressed within 2 months without development into tumours. The results indicated that human oesophageal epithelial cells were reproducibly immortalised by infection with a recombinant SV40 adenovirus vector at relatively high efficiency. The immortalised cells should be useful in studies on oesophageal carcinogenesis and in assessing the cooperative effects with other oncogene products or carcinogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming / analysis
  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming / biosynthesis
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Transformation, Viral*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cysts / pathology
  • DNA Replication / drug effects
  • Defective Viruses
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Epithelium / drug effects
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Esophagus / cytology*
  • Genes, Viral
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Keratins / analysis
  • Keratins / biosynthesis
  • Mice
  • Mice, SCID
  • Replication Origin / genetics
  • Simian virus 40*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / pharmacology
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Keratins