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Mutat Res. 1994 Apr;312(2):85-97.

An in situ protocol for measuring the expression of chemically-induced mutations in mammalian cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Environmental Carcinogenesis and Mutagenesis, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.

Abstract

The generation of expression curves and the evaluation of mutagenic responses of mammalian cells using standard mutagenesis assays can be inaccurate because mutant and wild-type cells are usually mixed during the expression phase. If some mutant progenitors or mutants grow more slowly than the wild-type cells during the expression period, there will be a decrease in the mutant to wild-type ratio with time and the mutant fraction will not accurately represent the number of mutational events that occurred. The mutant fraction may also inaccurately assess the number of mutations if these mutations are expressed over a number of generations during the time before selection. We previously showed that recovery of L5178Y mouse cell mutants is not complete when mutations are allowed to express in suspension because slowly growing mutants and/or mutant progenitors are diluted out during this time (Rudd et al., 1990). In order to more accurately quantitate the mutagenic response of the cells, we developed an in situ procedure which segregates and immobilizes cells during expression. Because of this immobilization, slowly growing mutant progenitors and mutants expressed at different times will have an equal probability of being scored as mutants. Thus, one mutation leads to one mutant colony and the measurement of the mutagenic response of the cells to the chemical accurately reflects the mutational events that occurred. We plated L5178Y tk+/- mouse cells in semisolid medium immediately after treatment. As the cells grew and formed microcolonies, the selective agent TFT was added as an overlay at specified times, permitting only TFTr cells to survive. In this procedure, each mutation was captured as an individual colony; consequently, the measured mutation fraction accurately reflected the mutational events that occurred at the selected locus. In addition, the induced mutant colonies arising in the agar are the result of independent mutational events. We previously described the in situ protocol for L5178Y cells and showed that the spontaneous mutation rate measured was 50-fold greater than when the cells expressed the phenotype in suspension (Rudd et al., 1990). From this we concluded that the slow growth phenotype was expressed before TFT resistance. In the present paper, we evaluate the effect of chemical treatment on the mutation fraction as a function of the time to TFT addition. Using the in situ protocol, we generated expression curves for three nucleotide analogs, 5-azacytidine, TFT and AraC. The numbers of TFTr colonies produced at various times after treatment indicated that chemically-treated cultures had higher mutation fractions than the solvent controls.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

PMID:
7510835
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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