Characterization of mutations and loss of heterozygosity of p53 and K-ras2 in pancreatic cancer cell lines by immobilized polymerase chain reaction
© Butz et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2003
Received: 20 May 2003
Accepted: 23 July 2003
Published: 23 July 2003
The identification of known mutations in a cell population is important for clinical applications and basic cancer research. In this work an immobilized form of the polymerase chain reaction, referred to as polony technology, was used to detect mutations as well as gene deletions, resulting in loss of heterozygosity (LOH), in cancer cell lines. Specifically, the mutational hotspots in p53, namely codons 175, 245, 248, 249, 273, and 282, and K-ras2, codons 12, 13 and 61, were genotyped in the pancreatic cell line, Panc-1. In addition LOH analysis was also performed for these same two genes in Panc-1 by quantifying the relative gene copy number of p53 and K-ras2.
Using polony technology, Panc-1 was determined to possess only one copy of p53, which possessed a mutation in codon 273, and two copies of K-ras2, one wildtype and one with a mutation in codon 12. To further demonstrate the general approach of this method, polonies were also used to detect K-ras2 mutations in the pancreatic cell lines, AsPc-1 and CAPAN-1.
In conclusion, we have developed an assay that can detect mutations in hotspots of p53 and K-ras2 as well as diagnose LOH in these same genes.
KeywordsPolony immobilized PCR pancreatic cancer p53 K-ras2 mutations loss of heterozygosity
The advent of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) played an important role in revolutionizing research in the field of molecular biology . A recent adaptation of this technology, known as polymerase colonies, or "polonies", holds tremendous promise as well. Polony technology is a form of PCR in which the reaction is immobilized in a thin polyacrylamide gel attached to a microscope slide [2, 3]. As the PCR proceeds, the PCR products diffuse radially within the gel from its immobilized template (e.g., genomic DNA), giving rise to a circular PCR product, or polymerase colony. When the gel is stained with SybrGreen I and scanned with a microarray scanner, the polymerase colony resembles a colony on an agar plate, hence its name. Herein, we describe the applications of polony technology to cancer research with the goal of screening for: 1) mutations in key tumor suppressor and oncogenes; as well as 2) loss of heterozygosity.
One of the hallmarks of cancer includes the accumulation of mutations in key genes, namely DNA repair genes , tumor suppressor genes [5, 6], and proto-oncogenes [5, 6], accompanied by the loss of the wildtype allele, resulting in loss of heterozygosity [LOH, see reviews by [7–9]]. Pancreatic cancer, which results in the death of approximately 30,000 Americans annually and is the fourth leading cause of cancer mortalities in the United States, exhibits this hallmark . For example, in pancreatic cancer there is a high incidence of mutations (>50%) in the tumor suppressor genes p16, p53 and DPC4 and approximately 90% of cases coincide with a mutation in the oncogene K-ras2 [see review by ]. Furthermore, a significant percentage of tumors harboring a mutated copy of DPC4 or p53 also lose the corresponding wildtype allele, resulting in LOH [see reviews by [11, 12]].
Of particular importance to this study are the genes p53 and K-ras2 since a significant proportion of the mutations are localized to a relatively small number of mutational hotspots [13–16]. In this paper we introduce a screen to detect the presence of pancreatic cancer by looking for somatic mutations in p53 and K-ras2 using polony technology to microsequence mutational hotspots within these two genes. In addition polonies are used to diagnose LOH in these same genes.
Previous work has shown that a significant percentage of mutations in p53 and K-ras2 are localized to mutational hotspots, namely codons 175, 245, 248, 249, 273, and 282 in p53 and codons 12, 13, and 61 in K-ras2 [reviewed in [14, 17, 18]]. Each of these mutational hotspots was sequenced in the genomic DNA of various pancreatic cell lines using polony technology as follows. Initially, each exon bearing a mutational hotspot was individually PCR amplified in a polyacrylamide gel giving rise to one polymerase colony, or polony, per copy of genomic p53 or K-ras2 DNA. The non-acrydited strand of the polony was then stripped away after formamide treatment and electrophoresis. A sequencing primer was hybridized to the single-stranded copy of the PCR-amplified p53/K-ras2 fragment and a single base extension with either a Cy-3 or Cy-5 labeled dNTP was performed prior to scanning on a microarray scanner. The process of formamide denaturation, hybridization, and extension was repeated 3 additional times in order to perform an extension with each of the four dNTPs and completely sequence each position.
We have shown that polony technology is an improved method to study, and potentially diagnosis, cancer . Specifically, polony technology was successfully applied to both detect intragenic mutations in well-defined mutational hotspots in key cancer genes as well as determine if loss of heterozygosity of these same genes had occurred. For example, Panc-1 was determined to possess only one copy of p53, which possessed an intragenic mutation in codon 273, and two copies of K-ras2, one wildtype and one with an intragenic mutation in codon 12. These results are consistent with findings from previous work [20, 21].
The approach described herein was applied to a clonal cell line. However, this approach could be used to detect rare somatic mutations and to diagnosis cancer with genomic DNA collected from patient samples or biopsies [23–27] in a manner similar to Digital PCR developed by Vogelstein and Kinzler . In the case of analyzing pancreatic juice for p53 and K-ras2 mutations, it seems likely that only a small percentage of DNA harbors mutant DNA. However, polonies seem well suited for this type of analysis since several hundred to several million  polonies for a particular gene can be analyzed on a single slide, thereby increasing the likelihood of detecting a rare event . Additionally, the frequency of mutations can be readily determined using this approach due to the "digital" nature of polonies.
Finally, it should be noted that this approach is not without limitations. For example, sequencing each mutational hotspot is laborious and detecting mutations outside the hotspots is not feasible. Adherence to mutational hotspots was directly responsible for the inability to detect the p53 mutations in the CAPAN and AsPc-1 cell lines [19, 21]. The best approach for detecting mutations outside the hotspots will involve direct sequencing of the polony PCR products [2, 13, 14].
We have shown that polony technology is an improved method to study, and potentially diagnosis, cancer . Specifically, polony technology was successfully applied to both detect intragenic mutations in well-defined mutational hotspots in key cancer genes as well as determine if loss of heterozygosity of these same genes had occurred. These results are consistent with findings from previous work [20, 21].
Preparation of Pancreatic Cell Line Genomic DNA
The pancreatic cell lines AsPc-1, CAPAN-1 and Panc-1 were purchased from the American Type Culture Collection (Manassas, VA) and were grown according to the manufacturer's instructions [28–30]. Genomic DNA was harvested from these cells using a Qiagen (Alameda, CA) Blood and Cell Culture DNA Midi Kit.
Primers used to polony amplify p53 and K-ras 2 exons bearing mutational hotspots from pancreatic cancer cell line genomic DNA.
p53 exon5 forward
p53 exon5 reverse
p53 exon7 forward
p53 exon7 reverse
p53 exon8 forward
p53 exon8 reverse
kras exon1 forward
kras exon1 reverse
kras exon2 forward
kras exon2 reverse
Upon completion of the PCR reaction, the slide was immersed in clean hexane to remove oil prior to staining in 2X Sybr Green (Molecular Probes, Eugene, OR) for 15 minutes. The slides was then washed in TBE and scanned with a ScanArray 5000 microarray scanner (Perkin Elmer, Wellesley, MA) with the FITC laser and filter set.
Denaturation and electrophoresis of polony gels
Prior to genotyping, the double stranded polonies were made single stranded by stripping away the non-acrydited strand in a two-step procedure . The polony DNA was denatured by incubation in a formamide buffer (1x SSC, 70% formamide, 25% doubly deionized-water) at 70 C for 15 min. Immediately following denaturation, the gels were subjected to electrophoresis (42 % urea in 0.5x TBE) to remove the non-acrydited strand.
Hybridization and single base extension
Primers used to sequence codons in p53 and K-ras2 that experience a high incidence of mutation during carcinogenesis. The designations "for" and "rev" indicate whether the anti-sense or sense strand was sequenced, respectively.
p53 c175 pos1 for
p53 c175 pos2 for
p53 c175 pos3 for
p53 c175 pos3 rev
p53 c175 pos2 rev
p53 c245 pos1 for
p53 c245 pos2 for
p53 c245 pos3 for
p53 c248 pos1 for
p53 c248 pos2 for
p53 c248 pos3 for
p53 c249 pos3 rev
p53 c249 pos2 rev
p53 c249 pos1 rev
p53 c273 pos1 for
p53 c273 pos2 for
p53 c273 pos3 for
p53 c282 pos1 for
p53 c282 pos2 for
p53 c282 pos3 for
kras c12 pos1 for
kras c12 pos2 for
kras c12 pos3 for
kras c13 pos3 rev
kras c13 pos2 rev
kras c13 pos1 rev
kras c61 pos1 for
kras c61 pos2 for
kras c61 pos3 for
Results from sequencing p53 and K-ras 2 mutational hotspots in Panc-1 genomic DNA.
G G/A T
Genotyping of mutational hotspots was finally accomplished by performing single base extensions of the hybridized sequencing primer with fluorescently labeled deoxynucleotides. Following hybridization, the gels were washed 2× in Wash1E and then equilibrated in Klenow extension buffer (50 mM Tris-HCl, pH 7.5, 5 mM MgCl2, 0.01% Triton X-100) for 1 minute. For each sample, 50 μL solution containing approximately 5 units of Klenow large fragment (New England Biolabs, Beverly, MA), 3 μg of single stranded binding protein (US Biochemicals, Cleveland, OH), and 0.5 μM Cy3- or Cy5-labeled dATP, dCTP, dGTP or dUTP (Perkin Elmer) was pipeted onto the gel. The single base extension was allowed to proceed for 2 min. The gels were then washed in Wash1E to reduce background fluorescence and scanned on the ScanArray5000 with the appropriate lasers and filters. The process of formamide denaturation, hybridization, extension, and scanning was repeated 3 additional times for each primer in order to do a single base extension with each of the four labeled nucleotides.
A PC-formatted CD-ROM containing this manuscript is included. The manuscript was created in Microsoft Word XP in Office XP for the PC.
The authors would like to thank Kevin Duffy from Eric Wickstrom's laboratory for growing the AsPc-1, CAPAN-1, and Panc-1 cell lines used in these experiments. In addition, the authors would like to acknowledge George Church and Robi Mitra for assistance with polony technology. Finally, the authors would like to thank Joshua Merritt and Venugopal Mikkilineni helpful discussions and technical assistance. This work was supported by the University of Delaware Research Foundation, the NIH and the US Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research.
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