Biological Effects of Genes in the Grc and EC Region of the Rat Major Histocompatibility Complex


64 Pond Road, Duxbury, MA 02332.


PROBLEM: To study the mechanism of action of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-linked genes affecting reproduction, growth, and susceptibility to chemical carcinogens.

METHOD OF STUDY: Tumors derived from rat embryonic fibroblasts were transfected with cosmids from the Grc and its linked regions, the unrelated A region, and a nonMHC region, or with genes from the Grc, Grc-linked, and nonMHC regions, to determine whether they could suppress tumor growth as determined by in vitro (soft agar) and in vivo assays.

RESULTS: Tumor fibroblasts transfected with cosmids from the Grc or from the EC region decreased tumor growth in both the in vitro and in vivo assays. Transfection with individual genes from the Grc had no effect on tumor growth in either assay.

CONCLUSIONS: The effects of the Grc on reproduction, growth, and tumorigenesis are mediated by extended genetic effects, i.e., by the conformation of the DNA in this region. Similar effects were seen following transfection with cosmids from the Grc-linked EC region, and this finding strengthens the hypothesis that the conformation of the DNA in this general region is critical for its function. A similar effect has been described for the locus control region (LCR) in the β-globin gene family in the human.