Rat hepatoma-human fibroblast hybrids of two independent lineages containing only 8-11 human chromosomes show pleiotropic extinction of thirteen out of fifteen hepatic functions examined. Reexpression of the entire group of functions most often occurs in a block, and except for one discordant subclone, correlates with loss of human chromosome 2. The extinguished cells and their reexpressing derivatives have been examined for the expression of seven liver-enriched transcription factors. C/EBP, LAP, DBP, HNF3, and vHNF1 expression are not systematically extinguished in parallel with the hepatic functions. However, HNF1 and HNF4 show a perfect correlation with phenotype: these factors are expressed only in the cells showing pleiotropic reexpression. Since recent evidence indicates that HNF4 controls HNF1 expression, it can be proposed that the HNF4 gene is the primary target of the pleiotropic extinguisher.

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