5-Azacytidine-induced reactivation of a herpes simplex thymidine kinase gene

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Science  02 Apr 1982:
Vol. 216, Issue 4541, pp. 70-73
DOI: 10.1126/science.6175023


Mouse cells transformed with herpes simplex virus and containing the viral thymidine kinase (TK) gene in an inactive state were treated with 5-azacytidine. The result was the reexpression of the viral TK gene. Two days of exposure to 5-azacytidine followed by 2 days of expression time was sufficient for maximal induction of the TK+ phenotype. The induction of TK expression by 5-azacytidine was concentration-dependent, with maximal induction at 10 micromoles per liter. 5-Azacytidine also inhibited the decay of TK expression in TK+ transformants removed from selective conditions. Analysis of the methylation patterns of the viral TK gene with restriction endonucleases Hpa II and Msp I showed the active gene to be unmethylated, the inactive gene methylated, and the 5-azacytidine-induced gene unmethylated.