We have established, in continuous cell culture, a spontaneously immortalized chicken embryo fibroblast (CEF) cell line (DF-1) as well as several other immortal CEF cell lines. The immortal DF-1 cells divided more rapidly than primary and other immortal CEF cells. To identify the genes involved in rapidly dividing DF-1 cells, we have used differential display RT-PCR. Of the numerous genes analyzed, three mitochondrial-encoded genes (ATPase 8/6, 16S rRNA, and cytochrome b) were shown to express at higher levels in DF-1 cells compared to primary and other immortal CEF cells. The inhibition of mitochondrial translation by treatment with chloramphenicol markedly decreased ATP production and cell proliferation in DF-1 cells, while not affecting growth in either primary or other immortal CEF cells. This result suggests a correlation between rapid cell proliferation and the increased mitochondrial respiratory functions. We also determined that the increased transcription of mitochondrial-encoded genes in DF-1 cells is due to increased de novo transcript synthesis as shown by mitochondrial run-on assays, and not the result of either increased mitochondrial biogenesis or mitochondrial transcript half-lives. Together, the present studies suggest that the transcriptional activation of mitochondrial-encoded genes and the elevated respiratory function should be one of the characteristics of rapidly dividing immortal cells.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Don Swiatek for help with fluorescence microscopy. This work was supported, in part, by USDA/NRICGP Grant 9603280 and a grant from American Home Products (Fort Dodge Animal Health) to D.N.F.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology