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J Vis Exp. 2011 Jul 27;(53). pii: 2802. doi: 10.3791/2802.

Visualization of the interstitial cells of cajal (ICC) network in mice.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Abstract

The interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are mesenchymal derived "pacemaker cells" of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that generate spontaneous slow waves required for peristalsis and mediate neuronal input from the enteric nervous system 1. Different subtypes of ICC form distinct networks in the muscularis of the GI tract (2,3). Loss or injury to these networks is associated with a number of motility disorders(4). ICC cells express the KIT receptor tyrosine kinase on the plasma membrane and KIT immunostaining has been used for the past 15 years to label the ICC network(5,6). Importantly, normal KIT activity is required for ICC development(5,6). Neoplastic transformation of ICC cells results in gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), that frequently harbor gain-of-function KIT mutations(7,8). We recently showed that ETV1 is a lineage-specific survival factor expressed in the ICC/GIST lineage and is a master transcriptional regulator required for both normal ICC network formation and for of GIST tumorigenesis(9). We further demonstrate that it cooperates with activating KIT mutations in tumorigenesis. Here, we describe methods for visualization of ICC networks in mice, largely based on previously published protocols(10,11). More recently, the chloride channel anoctamin 1 (ANO1) has also been characterized as a specific membrane marker of ICC(11,12). Because of their plasma membrane localization, immunofluorescence of both proteins can be used to visualize the ICC networks. Here, we describe visualization of the ICC networks by fixed-frozen cyrosections and whole mount preparations.

PMID:
21841758
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3197437
Free PMC Article
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