Analysis of human tonsil and cancer DNAs and RNAs for DNA sequences of group C (serotypes 1, 2, 5, and 6) human adenoviruses.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

PubMedID: 293748

Green M, Wold WS, Mackey JK, Rigden P. Analysis of human tonsil and cancer DNAs and RNAs for DNA sequences of group C (serotypes 1, 2, 5, and 6) human adenoviruses. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 1979;76(12):6606-10.
Group C human adenoviruses (Ads) of serotypes 1, 2, 5, and 6 infect most children and commonly cause latent infections of lymphoid tissues. Ads transform cells into a malignant-like phenotype; the oncogenic genetic information is in the left 8% of the viral genome, in the HindIII-G DNA fragment. We have investigated the molecular basis for group C Ad latent infections in human tonsils as well as whether these viruses are linked to human cancer. Tonsil or cancer DNAs and RNAs were assayed for Ad sequences by liquid-phase saturation-hybridization with in vitro-labeled Ad5 HindIII-G fragment. About 25% of the 52 tonsils analyzed contained DNA or RNA sequences specific to HindIII-G, indicating that Ad transforming sequences are expressed as RNA in tonsils. Southern blotting analysis of four tonsil DNAs revealed multiple copies of the complete Ad genome in a free state and provided evidence for an unusual form of the Ad genome, possibly Ad DNA integrated into cellular DNA. In assays of human cancers, no Ad sequences were detected in DNAs from 26 squamous cell carcinomas (Cas), 3 adenocarcinomas, 4 oat cell Cas, 5 stomach Cas, 5 small intestine Cas, 15 colon Cas, 6 rectum Cas, 5 Hodgkin and 6 non-Hodgkin lymphomas, and 2 breast Cas. Reconstruction experiments indicated that the HindIII-G probe could detect 1 copy per cell of 0.2-0.3% of the viral genome. No HindIII-G-specific sequences were detected in RNAs from 21 squamous cell Cas, 3 oat cell Cas, 2 stomach Cas, or 18 colon Cas. In six other experiments using the complete Ad2 genome as probe, no Ad sequences were found in DNAs from 6 lung Cas, 12 normal lung tissues, 33 gastrointestinal Cas, 19 normal gastrointestinal tissues, 6 Hodgkin lymphomas, 3 breast Cas, or 4 kidney Cas, at a sensitivity of about 1 copy per tumor cell of 5-10% of the Ad2 genome. All Ad-induced cancer cells should contain at least 1 copy of 1-6% of the viral genome, the minimal size of the transforming region, and probably should contain multiple copies of more of the genome. Therefore, our data are definitive evidence against group C Ads being the cause of the cancers tested, which represent about 50% of the cancer incidence in the United States. Of additional interest, we did not detect Ad2 sequences in RNAs from 7 human placentas, 12 normal lungs, or 19 normal gastrointestinal tissues (nor in 44 cancer or 23 tonsil RNAs). Thus, we did not confirm a recent report of the presence of Ad2 RNA in RNAs from human placentas; the possibility that a small population of cells in placenta expresses group C "related" sequences is not ruled out.