The lamins, an intranuclear class of intermediate filament proteins, are major structural proteins of the nuclear envelope. In the present study, the three abundant mammalian lamins (lamins A, B, and C) were observed to be present in roughly equivalent amounts in the Calu-1, Calu-3, H157, and SK-MES-1 non-small cell lung cancer lines. In the small cell lung cancer lines OH-1, OH-3, NCI-H82, NCI-H209, and NCI-H249, levels of lamin B were similar to those observed in the non-small cell lines, but the levels of lamins A and C were diminished by ≥80%. The relationship between lung cancer phenotype and lamin expression was explored further in the NCI-H249 small cell line. Introduction of the v-rasH oncogene into this line gives rise to a cell line (NCI-H249rasH) with many features of large cell carcinoma of the lung (Falco, J. P., Baylin, S. B., Lupu, R., et al. J. Clin. Invest., 85: 1740–1745, 1990). Concomitant with the v-rasH-induced change in phenotype, a > 10-fold increase in the amounts of lamins A and C was observed. Levels of the cytoplasmic intermediate filament protein vimentin also increased. In contrast, levels of a variety of nonlamin nuclear polypeptides including topoisomerase I, topoisomerase II, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, and the nucleolar protein B23/nucleophosmin did not change. Comparison of polyadenylated RNA from NCI-H249 and NCI-H249rasH cells on Northern blots revealed similar levels of the mRNA for lamin B but higher levels of the mRNAs for lamins A and C in the v-rasH-expressing cell line. These observations provide evidence for differences in nuclear envelope structure in histologically different neoplastic cells derived from the same epithelial cell system and suggest that differences in lamina structure result from phenotype-specific differences in lamin gene expression.
These studies were supported in part by grants from the W. W. Smith Charitable Trust, the NIH (CA 06973, CA 08207), the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the American Cancer Society (Maryland Division), and an American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award (to M. M.).