Author(s): Andrews PW, Damjanov I, Simon D, Banting GS, Carlin C,
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Abstract We have derived and characterized single cell clones from a xenograft tumor of the teratocarcinoma cell line Tera-2. Isozyme and chromosomal analyses confirmed their common origin. When cultures of the clones were maintained at a high cell density, many cells exhibited a morphology and cell surface antigen phenotype typical of human embryonal carcinoma cells. These features included a high nucleo-cytoplasmic ratio, prominent nucleoli, and the expression of the globoseries glycolipid antigen SSEA-3. In addition, other cells, in many respects resembling these typical embryonal carcinoma cells, were distinguished by a marked tendency to accumulate cytoplasmic glycogen. Similar cells, together with more differentiated cells, were seen in low passage cultures of Tera-2 itself. When the clones were grown at a low cell density many cells assumed a larger, flatter shape, a few with multiple nucleoli. Also, the fucosylated lactosamine antigen SSEA-1 appeared on some cells, whereas expression of SSEA-3 and HLA-A,B,C tended to be reduced. Often the synthesis of fibronectin was increased. However, no obvious cytoplasmic differentiation was seen upon ultrastructural examination, and synthesis of human chorionic gonadotropin, alpha-fetoprotein, and laminin was not detected. In contrast to the limited spontaneous changes seen in culture, marked differentiation occurred in tumors obtained following injection of the cells into athymic (nu/nu) mice. In additional to embryonal carcinoma cells, these tumors contained a variety of somatic tissues that included glandular structures, possibly related to the primitive gut, and neural elements. These cell lines derived from Tera-2 constitute the first example of clonal human embryonal carcinoma cells, adapted to growth in vitro, that have retained the capacity for differentiation into diverse somatic tissues.
This article was published in Lab Invest
and referenced in Journal of Stem Cell Research & Therapy