Chromosomal instability and lack of cyclin E regulation in hCdc4 mutant human breast cancer cells

Nicole E. Willmarth, Donna G. Albertson, Stephen P. Ethier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Cyclin E, a G1 cyclin essential for G1-S phase transition, is known to have a profound effect on tumorigenesis. Elevated levels of cyclin E have been associated with breast cancer, and chromosomal instability observed in breast cancer is suggested to be associated with constitutive expression of cyclin E. It was previously demonstrated that SUM149PT human breast cancer cells show very high levels of cyclin E expression by western analysis and that they express a nonfunctional cyclin E ubiquitin ligase due to a mutation in the F-box protein hCdc4. Methods: We examined cyclin E expression in both MCF10A and SUM149PT cells using western blot analysis and flow cytometry. Immunofluorescence was utilized for the localization of cyclin E in both normal and breast cancer cells. In addition, array comparative genomic hybridization analysis was performed to compare chromosome copy number alterations with levels of cyclin E expression among a panel of breast cancer cell lines. Results: SUM149PT cells overexpress cyclin E on a cell per cell basis for the duration of the cell cycle. High cyclin E levels are maintained throughout the S phase, and SUM149PT cells exhibit an S phase delay or arrest probably due to cyclin E overexpression. In addition, comparative genomic hybridization indicated that SUM149PT cells exhibit many chromosome copy number alterations, which may reflect prior or ongoing genomic instability. However, no direct correlation was observed between cyclin E levels and genomic copy number alteration in a panel of human breast cancer cell lines. Conclusions: Cyclin E is overexpressed at high levels throughout the cell cycle in SUM149PT cells, which is in stark contrast to cyclin E degradation observed in the mid to late S phase of normal cells. SUM149PT cells are unable to regulate cyclin E and also exhibit many copy number alterations. However, there was a lack of direct correlation between cyclin E overexpression and chromosomal instability across a panel of other breast cancer cell lines examined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberR531
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 6 2004


  • Breast cancer
  • Cyclin E
  • Genomic instability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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