Steffney E. Roughta, Peter M. Yaub, Linda F. Chuanga, Roy H. Doic and Ronald Y. Chuanga, *
a Department of Medical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
b Department of Biological Chemistry, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
c Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Received 3 August 1998; revised 28 September 1998; accepted 29 September 1998. Available online 15 December 1998.
Organochlorine use over the past 50 years has resulted in the contamination of soil, water, plant and animal species. This contamination has created a long-lasting environmental problem, as the members of the organochlorine class of pesticides are resistant to degradation and have been labeled as persistent bioaccumulators. Studies have shown certain organochlorines to be tumor promoters, liver toxicants and to induce immune cell dysfunction in rats and mice. Our laboratory has shown that the organochlorines heptachlor and chlordane affect leukocytic gene expression and differentiation. In this study, experiments with CEM×174 cells, a hybrid of human T and B cells, were performed to investigate the effects of the tumor promoter heptachlor and its congeners chlordane and toxaphene on retinoblastoma (Rb) gene expression. The results indicated that heptachlor, chlordane or toxaphene, in the range of 10–50 μM, were able to reduce Rb protein levels in a concentration-dependent manner. In the case of heptachlor, the reduction could be seen as early as 12 h and was time-dependent. Analysis of Rb mRNA levels revealed no detectable difference over the same concentration range. These results suggest that members of the organochlorine class are able to downregulate Rb expression at the post-transcriptional level, an effect similar to that on p53 tumor suppressor previously reported by our laboratory.