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Open Access Open Badges Research article

TSPY potentiates cell proliferation and tumorigenesis by promoting cell cycle progression in HeLa and NIH3T3 cells

Shane W Oram1, Xing Xing Liu1, Tin-Lap Lee2, Wai-Yee Chan2 and Yun-Fai Chris Lau13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, VA Medical Center, University of California, San Francisco, USA

2 Laboratory of Clinical Genomics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA

3 Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Genetics, Department of Medicine, VA Medical Center, 111C5, 4150 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121, USA

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BMC Cancer 2006, 6:154  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-154

Published: 9 June 2006



TSPY is a repeated gene mapped to the critical region harboring the gonadoblastoma locus on the Y chromosome (GBY), the only oncogenic locus on this male-specific chromosome. Elevated levels of TSPY have been observed in gonadoblastoma specimens and a variety of other tumor tissues, including testicular germ cell tumors, prostate cancer, melanoma, and liver cancer. TSPY contains a SET/NAP domain that is present in a family of cyclin B and/or histone binding proteins represented by the oncoprotein SET and the nucleosome assembly protein 1 (NAP1), involved in cell cycle regulation and replication.


To determine a possible cellular function for TSPY, we manipulated the TSPY expression in HeLa and NIH3T3 cells using the Tet-off system. Cell proliferation, colony formation assays and tumor growth in nude mice were utilized to determine the TSPY effects on cell growth and tumorigenesis. Cell cycle analysis and cell synchronization techniques were used to determine cell cycle profiles. Microarray and RT-PCR were used to investigate gene expression in TSPY expressing cells.


Our findings suggest that TSPY expression increases cell proliferation in vitro and tumorigenesis in vivo. Ectopic expression of TSPY results in a smaller population of the host cells in the G2/M phase of the cell cycle. Using cell synchronization techniques, we show that TSPY is capable of mediating a rapid transition of the cells through the G2/M phase. Microarray analysis demonstrates that numerous genes involved in the cell cycle and apoptosis are affected by TSPY expression in the HeLa cells.


These data, taken together, have provided important insights on the probable functions of TSPY in cell cycle progression, cell proliferation, and tumorigenesis.