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Title: Mechanisms of senescience bypass in cells derived from the Syrian hamster embryo cell transformation assay
Author: Pickles, Jessica Chiara
ISNI:       0000 0004 5352 0747
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2014
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Recent European legislation has enforced a reduction in the use of animal models for safety assessment purposes and carcinogenicity testing. The Syrian hamster embryo cell transformation assay (SHE CTA) has been proposed as a suitable animal alternative, but its implementation into test batteries has been delayed. This is due to concerns regarding the assay’s endpoint subjectivity and, moreover, the model’s relevance to carcinogenicity remains mostly unexplored. Senescence is an essential barrier against uncontrolled cell proliferation and its evasion is necessary for clonal evolution and tumour development. Carcinogenesis can be modelled by reproducing underlying mechanisms leading to senescence bypass. In this project, the SHE CTA was performed using the known mutagen and human carcinogen, benzo(a)pyrene, and the resulting SHE colonies were analysed. It was found that morphological transformation (MT) does not guarantee senescence bypass and cell immortalisation, but increases the likelihood of MT-derived cells subsequently acquiring unlimited growth potential. A limited number (between 10 and 20 %) of MT colonies produced cell clones capable of sustained proliferation and in most cases secondary events were necessary for the evasion of senescence barriers. With regard to mechanisms, p53 point mutations were present in 30 % of immortal B(a)P-induced MT colony-derived cells and located within the protein’s DNA binding domain. No p16 mutations were identified. Expression of p16 mRNA was commonly silenced or markedly reduced by a combination of mechanisms including monoallelic deletion, promoter methylation and BMI-1 overexpression. Taking advantage of the recently available Syrian hamster genomic sequence information generated by the Broad Institute, the coding regions of the Syrian hamster CDKN2A/B locus were shown to have good homology to human nucleotide sequences and confirmed the exonic structures of SH p16, ARF and p15. The findings further implicate the importance of p16 in regulating senescence while providing a molecular evaluation of SHE CTA-derived MT clones.
Supervisor: Newbold, R.; Harvey, A.; Scott, A. Sponsor: BBSRC ; Unilever
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Morphological transformation ; CDKN2A/B Locus ; Carcinogen - induced immortalisation