Detectability and diagnostic criteria of p53 gene mutations in human oral squamous cell carcinoma using yeast functional assay

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In yeast functional assay (YF assay), a newly developed screening system for p53 mutation, wild-type p53 gives white yeast colonies and transcriptionally inactive mutant p53 gives red colonies. In the present study, the author applied YF assay to the detection of p53 mutations in human oral squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Total RNA was extracted from samples and YF assay was performed. Four SCC cell lines (SAS, HSC-2, HSC-3 and Ca9-22) known to have p53 mutations all gave 100% red colonies, whereas nine oral non-tumor tissues gave 2.9-10% (average 5.2 +/- 2.7%) red colonies. Furthermore, a rat hepatoma cell line, WHp53, which had been transfected with human wild-type p53 expression vector, presented 7.8% red colonies. Thus the functional assays of tissues or cells containing only wild-type p53 give 3-10% red colonies as a background. To assess the detectability of p53 mutations, YF assay was performed on mixtures of wild-type and mutant p53 PCR products at serial ratios. The result showed that the mutation was detectable if 6% population of transcriptionally inactive mutant p53 mRNA were present in the total p53 mRNA. Twenty-two clinical samples of human oral SCC were then tested by YF assay. Fourteen out of 22 cases gave more than 20% red colonies. In these 14 cases, clonal p53 mutations with deletion, nonsense mutation or missense mutation were identified. In a case which gave 17% red colonies, identical p53 mutation was found in 2 out of 6 independent red colonies. However, no identical mutations were found in the cases giving 13, 9 and 8% red colonies. Based on these results, the author proposes that 20% of red colonies is the minimal value for the diagnosis of p53 mutation in YF assay under PCR conditions using Pfu polymerase and hot start method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
Journal[Hokkaido igaku zasshi] The Hokkaido journal of medical science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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