BMC cell biology

Expression of cyclins A, E and topoisomerase II alpha correlates with centrosome amplification and genomic instability and influences the reliability of cytometric S-phase determination.

PMID 12875657


The progression of normal cells through the cell cycle is meticulously regulated by checkpoints guaranteeing the exact replication of the genome during S-phase and its equal division at mitosis. A prerequisite for this achievement is synchronized DNA-replication and centrosome duplication. In this context the expression of cyclins A and E has been shown to play a principal role. Our results demonstrated a correlation between centrosome amplification, cell cycle fidelity and the level of mRNA and protein expression of cyclins A and E during the part of the cell cycle defined as G1-phase by means of DNA content based histogram analysis. It is shown that the normal diploid breast cell line HTB-125, the genomically relatively stable aneuploid breast cancer cell line MCF-7, and the genomically unstable aneuploid breast cancer cell line MDA-231 differ remarkably concerning both mRNA and protein expression of the two cyclins during G1-phase. In MDA-231 cells the expression of e.g. cyclin A mRNA was found to be ten times higher than in MCF-7 cells and about 500 times higher than in HTB-125 cells. Topoisomerase II alpha showed high mRNA expression in MDA compared to MCF-7 cells, but the difference in protein expression was small. Furthermore, we measured centrosome aberrations in 8.4% of the MDA-231 cells, and in only 1.3% of the more stable aneuploid cell line MCF-7. MDA cells showed 27% more incorporation of BrdU than reflected by S-phase determination with flow cytometric DNA content analysis, whereas these values were found to be of the same size in both HTB-125 and MCF-7 cells. Our data indicate that the breast cancer cell lines MCF-7 and MDA-231, although both DNA-aneuploid, differ significantly regarding the degree of cell cycle disturbance and centrosome aberrations, which partly could explain the different genomic stability of the two cell lines. The results also question the reliability of cytometric DNA content based S-phase determination in genomically unstable tumor cell populations.