The genome of the BALB/c mouse strain provides alleles that dominantly inhibit hepatocellular tumor development in F1 crosses with the highly hepatocarcinogenesis-susceptible C3H/He strain. Genome-wide linkage analysis using a 1536-single-nucleotide polymorphism array in a (C3H/He × BALB/c)F2 intercross population treated with urethane to induce hepatocellular tumor development revealed a locus with a major role in the resistance to hepatocarcinogenesis. This locus, designated hepatocarcinogen resistance 3 (Hpcr3) and mapping to central chromosome 15, showed a linkage at LOD score = 16.52 and accounted for 40% of the phenotypical variance. The BALB/c-derived allele at Hpcr3 reduced tumor-occupied area of the liver up to 25-fold, in a semidominant way. Additional minor loci were mapped to chromosomes 1, 10, and 18. A gene expression profile of normal adult mouse liver showed a significant association with susceptibility of BALB/c, C3H/He, and F1 mice to hepatocarcinogenesis and identified the genes expressed in the Hpcr3 locus region; moreover, this analysis implicated the E2F1 pathway in the modulation of the phenotype susceptibility to hepatocarcinogenesis. Conclusion: These findings, indicating the complex genetics of dominant resistance to hepatocarcinogenesis, represent a step toward the identification of the genes underlying this phenotype.
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