We previously showed that fusion between hepatocytes lacking a crucial liver enzyme, fumarylacetoacetate hydrolase (FAH), and wild-type blood cells resulted in hepatocyte reprogramming. FAH expression was restored in hybrid hepatocytes and, upon in vivo expansion, ameliorated the effects of FAH deficiency. Here, we show that fusion-derived polyploid hepatocytes can undergo ploidy reductions to generate daughter cells with one-half chromosomal content. Fusion hybrids are, by definition, at least tetraploid. We demonstrate reduction to diploid chromosome content by multiple methods. First, cytogenetic analysis of fusion-derived hepatocytes reveals a population of diploid cells. Secondly, we demonstrate marker segregation using β-galactosidase and the Y-chromosome. Approximately 2-5% of fusion-derived FAH-positive nodules were negative for one or more markers, as expected during ploidy reduction. Next, using a reporter system in which β-galactosidase is expressed exclusively in fusion-derived hepatocytes, we identify a subpopulation of diploid cells expressing β-galactosidase and FAH. Finally, we track marker segregation specifically in fusion-derived hepatocytes with diploid DNA content. Hemizygous markers were lost by ≥50% of Fah-positive cells. Since fusion-derived hepatocytes are minimally tetraploid, the existence of diploid hepatocytes demonstrates that fusion-derived cells can undergo ploidy reduction. Moreover, the high degree of marker loss in diploid daughter cells suggests that chromosomes/markers are lost in a nonrandom fashion. Thus, we propose that ploidy reductions lead to the generation of genetically diverse daughter cells with about 50% reduction in nuclear content. The generation of such daughter cells increases liver diversity, which may increase the likelihood of oncogenesis. © 2009 Duncan et al.
Duncan, A. W., Hickey, R. D., Paulk, N. K., Culberson, A. J., Olson, S. B., Finegold, M. J., & Grompe, M. (2009). Ploidy reductions in murine fusion-derived hepatocytes. PLoS Genetics, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1000385