Transformation of kidney epithelial cells by a quinol thioether via inactivation of the tuberous sclerosis-2 tumor suppressor gene

Hae Seong Yoon, Terrence J. Monks, Cheryl L. Walker, Serrine S. Lau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Although hydroquinone (HQ) is a rodent carcinogen, because of its lack of mutagenicity in standard bacterial mutagenicity assays it is generally considered a nongenotoxic carcinogen. 2,3,5-Tris-(glutathion-S-yl)HQ (TGHQ) is a potent nephrotoxic metabolite of HQ that may play an important role in HQ-mediated nephrocarcinogenicity. TGHQ mediates cell injury by generating reactive oxygen species and covalently binding to tissue macromolecules. We determined the ability of HQ and TGHQ to induce cell transformation in primary renal epithelial cells derived from the Eker rat. Eker rats possess a germline inactivation of one allele of the tuberous sclerosis-2 (Tsc-2) tumor suppressor gene that predisposes the animals to renal cell carcinoma. Treatment of primary Eker rat renal epithelial cells with HQ (25 and 50 μM) or TGHQ (100 and 300 μM) induced 2- to 4-fold and 6- to 20-fold increases in cell transformation, respectively. Subsequently, three cell lines (The QT-RRE 1, 2, and 3) were established from TGHQ-induced transformed colonies. The QT-RRE cell lines exhibited a broad range of numerical cytogenetic alterations, loss of heterozygosity at the Tsc-2 gene locus, and loss of expression of tuberin, the protein encoded by the Tsc-2 gene. Only heterozygous (Tsc-2EK/+) kidney epithelial cells were susceptible to transformation by HQ and TGHQ, as wild-type cells (Tsc-2+/+) showed no increase in transformation frequency over background levels following chemical exposure. These data indicate that TGHQ and HQ are capable of directly transforming rat renal epithelial cells and that the Tsc-2 tumor suppressor gene is an important target of TGHQ-mediated renal epithelial cell transformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-45
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Carcinogenesis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • 2,3,5-tris-(glutathion-S-yl)hydroquinone
  • Cell transformation
  • Eker rat
  • QT-RRE cell lines
  • Tsc-2 gene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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