We have introduced point mutations in v‐rasH to study their effects on biochemical and biological properties of the ras‐encoded protein p21. Several of these mutant proteins do not bind GTP and thus lack GTPase activity, while others were shown to have their GTP binding reduced. We have introduced these ras mutants into NIH 3T3 fibroblastoid cells to study major parameters of clinical importance which are associated with neoplastic transformation, particularly MHC expression in cells, metastasis and tumorigenesis in both nude mice and immune competent mice. Our data show that certain mutations in v‐ras differentially affect the expression of the transformed phenotype. Mutant ras molecules deficient in GTP binding fail to generate rapidly progressing tumors in immune competent mice, and not all morphologically transformed cells were capable of experimental metastasis. Cells transformed by certain v‐ras mutants form tumors in immunocompetent mice and show reduced expression of MHC class‐1 antigens. Other cells are morphologically transformed and tumorigenic in athymic nude mice, but fail to form tumors in normal mice and show levels of MHC class‐1 antigen expression similar to non‐transformed 3T3 cells. The inverse relationship between MHC class‐1‐antigen expression and the degree of transformation in fibroblastoid cells suggests that the ras gene product could be involved in regulating MHC expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research