Point mutations of the gsp protooncogene (encoding the α-subunit of the G(s) protein) that constitutively activate the cAMP signaling pathway are a common feature of and a plausible causative mechanism for thyroid hyperfunctioning adenomas (hot nodules). To investigate the extent to which mutant gsp acting alone can induce proliferation of thyroid follicular cells, we generated an amphotropic retroviral vector (based on the pBABE-neo plasmid and psi-CRIP packaging line) to permit stable introduction of a hemagglutinin tagged Gln227→Leu mutant gsp gene into normal human thyrocytes in vitro. The biological activity of the vector was confirmed by detection of HA- tagged Gsp protein expression and induction of cAMP synthesis in selected target cells. Normal human thyroid follicular cells in primary monolayer culture were infected with the gsp retroviral vector or with corresponding vectors expressing mutant H-ras or neo only as positive and negative controls, respectively. Although, as before, mutant ras generated 10-20 well differentiated epithelial colonies/dish of 105 infected cells, with an average lifespan of 15-20 population doublings, only small groups of no more than 15-50 differentiated thyrocytes were observed with the gsp vector. In addition to standard conditions (10% FCS), infections were performed in reduced serum (1% FCS, TSH, and insulin), in the presence of isobutylylmethylxanthine, or in the presence of agents capable of closing gap junctions, with no significant difference in outcome. Although little or no proliferative response was observed regardless of the conditions, there was clear evidence of morphological response (rearrangement of the actin cytoskeleton and increased cell size). The results suggest that gsp mutation may not be a sufficient proliferogenic stimulus by itself to account for hot nodule formation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical