Absence of TGF-beta receptors and growth inhibitory responses in retinoblastoma cells

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Science  08 Apr 1988:
Vol. 240, Issue 4849, pp. 196-199
DOI: 10.1126/science.2895499


The responses of retinoblastoma tumor cells and normal retinal cells to various growth inhibitory factors were examined. Whereas fetal retinal cells were highly sensitive to the antimitogenic effects of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-beta 1), retinoblastoma tumor cell lines were all resistant to this factor. Binding assays and affinity labeling of these cells with radioiodinated TGF-beta 1 revealed that the cells did not have TGF-beta receptors. The retinoblastoma cells lacked the three affinity-labeled proteins of 65, 95, and 300 kilodaltons typically seen in human cell lines and thus differed from normal retinal cells and from other types of neuroectodermal tumors that display the normal pattern of receptors. Loss of TGF-beta receptors, which is a rare event among tumor cells, may represent one mechanism through which these cells escape from negative control and form retinoblastomas.