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Open Access Open Badges Research article

p150 ADAR1 isoform involved in maintenance of HeLa cell proliferation

Haifang Wang12, Zheng Hou1, Yumei Wu1, Xue Ma1 and Xiaoxing Luo1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, the Fourth Military Medical University, Xi' an 710032, P. R. China

2 Current affiliation: Faculty of Life sciences, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an 710072, P. R. China

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BMC Cancer 2006, 6:282  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-282

Published: 8 December 2006



RNA-specific adenosine deaminase ADAR1 is ubiquitously expressed in a variety of mammalian cells and tissues. Although its physiological importance in non-nervous tissues has been confirmed by analysis of null mutation phenotypes, few endogenous editing substrates have been identified in numerous peripheral tissues and biological function of ADAR1 has not been fully understood.


A conditional site-specific, ribozyme-based gene knock-down strategy was utilized to study the function of full-length isoform of ADAR1 (p150 protein) in HeLa cell. Double-stable HeLa cell lines were developed by transfecting HeLa Tet-On cells with a pTRE-derived plasmid that can express a hammerhead ribozyme against mRNA of p150 ADAR1 isoform under induction condition. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR and Western blotting were performed to measure the expression of p150 in selected cell clones. Cell proliferation was evaluated by means of MTT assay and growth curve analysis. Cellular morphological changes were observed under light microscope. Flow Cytometry was used for cell cycle analysis. Growth rate of cell transplants in BALB/c nude mice was also investigated.


Both HeLa cell proliferation in vitro and the growth rate of transplanted HeLa cell-derived tumors in nude mice in vivo were significantly inhibited due to reduced expression of ADAR1 p150. Additionally, cell cycle analysis showed that cell progression from G1 phase to S phase was retarded in the ADAR1 p150 suppressed cells.


Our results suggest that normal expression and functioning of p150 ADAR1 is essential for the maintenance of proper cell growth. The mechanisms underlying ADAR1's action might include both editing of currently unknown double-stranded RNAs and interacting with other cellular dsRNA-related processes.