The retinoblastoma gene family pRb/p105, p107, pRb2/p130 and simian virus-40 large T-antigen in human mesotheliomas

Nat Med. 1997 Aug;3(8):913-6. doi: 10.1038/nm0897-913.


The oncoprotein of simian virus-40, SV40 large T-antigen (Tag), is reported to target and to inactivate growth suppressive proteins such as the retinoblastoma family and p53 (ref. 4, 5), leading to transformation of human cell lines in vitro, tumor production in rodents, and detection of Tag in several human cancers including mesotheliomas. The retinoblastoma family contains three members, pRb, p107 and pRb2/p130 (ref. 9), that are phosphorylated in a cell cycle-dependent manner, have cell growth suppressive properties and bind to specific members of the E2F family and various cyclins. Even though mesotheliomas are among the most aggressive human cancers, alterations of important cell-cycle "controllers," such as the Rb family genes, have never been reported in these tumors. We found the presence of SV40-like sequences in 86% of 35 archival specimens of mesothelioma. We also demonstrated that SV40 Tag, isolated from frozen biopsies of human mesothelioma, binds each of the retinoblastoma family proteins, pRb, p107 and pRb2/p130, in four of four specimens. We propose that the tumorigenic potential of SV40 Tag in some human mesotheliomas may arise from its ability to interact with and thereby inactivate several tumor and/or growth suppressive proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming / metabolism*
  • COS Cells
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mesothelioma / genetics*
  • Mesothelioma / immunology*
  • Mesothelioma / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multigene Family
  • Protein Binding
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / genetics
  • Retinoblastoma Protein / metabolism*
  • Simian virus 40 / immunology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antigens, Polyomavirus Transforming
  • Retinoblastoma Protein