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Mol Cell Biol. 1985 Oct;5(10):2623-32.

Dependence of liver-specific transcription on tissue organization.


When the liver is disaggregated and hepatocytes are cultured as a cellular monolayer for 24 h, a sharp decline (80 to 99% decrease) in the transcription of most liver-specific mRNAs, but not common mRNAs, occurs (Clayton and Darnell, Mol. Cell. Biol. 2:1552-1561, 1983). A wide variety of culture conditions involving various hormones and substrates and cocultivation with other cells failed to sustain high rates of liver-specific mRNA synthesis in cultured hepatocytes, although they continued to synthesize common mRNAs at normal or elevated rates. In contrast, when slices of intact mouse liver tissue were placed in culture, the transcription of liver-specific genes was maintained at high levels (20 to 100% of normal liver). Furthermore, we found that cells in the liver could be disengaged and immediately reengaged in a tissue-like structure by perfusing the liver with EDTA followed by serum-containing culture medium. Slices of reengaged liver continued to transcribe tissue-specific mRNA sequences at significantly higher rates after 24 h in culture than did individual cells isolated by EDTA perfusion followed by culturing as a monolayer. Therefore we conclude that a mature tissue structure plays an important role in the maintenance of maximum tissue-specific transcription in liver cells.

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