Phenotypes of HeLa S3 variant cell lines resistant to growth inhibition by sodium butyrate

A. Milsted, D. L. Gendusoday, J. Pensky, R. P. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


HeLa cell variants capable of multiplying in the presence of sodium butyrate were used to study the relationship of cell cycle position to human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) production and regulation of the genes encoding hCG α- and β-subunits. The butyrate-resistant variants exhibit several different stable phenotypes. In wild-type HeLa cells, butyrate arrests cell division and modulates synthesis of α- and β-subunits of glycoprotein hormones by coordinately regulating steady-state levels of their respective mRNAs. Because the variant cell lines replicate, in addition to producing hCG subunits in the presence of butyrate, cell cycle arrest does not seem to be a requirement for expression of glycoprotein hormone genes. Studies of histone modification suggest that neither hyperacetylation of histones H3 and H4 nor dephosphorylation of histones H1 and H2A mediates inhibition of cell replication. In the variants, α-subunit and hCGβ levels are independently regulated, as a consequence of independent regulation of α- and β-hCG mRNA levels. Long-term effects of butyrate include derepression of some genes (hCGβ in the variant AO) and repression of others (hCGα in variant AO). Moreover, hormone production correlates with the steady-state levels of mRNA for each of the subunits, suggesting that regulation occurs before translation. These findings indicate that the butyrate-resistant variant cell lines are valuable for studies of the molecular mechanisms involved in regulation of expression of ectopic hormones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)395-402
Number of pages8
JournalIn Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1987


  • butyrate-resistant variants
  • ectopic hormone
  • gene expression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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