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Exp Cell Res. 1998 Oct 10;244(1):93-104.

Differential expression and distribution of focal adhesion and cell adhesion molecules in rat hepatocyte differentiation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 15261, USA.


Hepatocytes in primary culture enter into clonal proliferation in the chemically defined hepatocyte growth medium in the presence of hepatocyte growth factor and epidermal growth factor. Hepatocyte proliferation is associated with loss of differentiated gene expression. Overlay of matrix derived from Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm mouse sarcoma (Matrigel) on proliferating hepatocytes induces reexpression of the hepatic differentiation marker genes. To explore the role of matrix in the differentiation process of hepatocytes, we examined the mRNAs of fibronectin, vitronectin, and entactin in proliferating hepatocytes and Matrigel-treated hepatocytes. Fibronectin mRNA increased in proliferating hepatocytes at days 2-10 and then decreased; however, vitronectin mRNA disappeared in proliferating hepatocytes and was reexpressed in Matrigel-treated hepatocytes. We also found that focal adhesion kinase and paxillin were strongly increased in Matrigel-treated hepatocytes, and E-cadherin and beta-catenin slightly increased in Matrigel-treated hepatocytes, suggesting that both cell-to-extracellular matrix and cell-to-cell interactions may be an essential part of hepatocyte differentiation. To evaluate the distribution of focal adhesion associated molecules and cell-to-cell adhesion molecules, Triton X-100 soluble and insoluble fractions were examined at days 8, 9, 10, and 11 in proliferating hepatocytes and Matrigel-treated cells. We found that E-cadherin in Triton X-100 insoluble fractions dramatically decreased in Matrigel-treated hepatocytes; however, beta-catenin strongly increased in Triton X-100 soluble fractions of Matrigel-treated hepatocytes. These results suggest that the distribution of both focal adhesion associated molecules and cell adhesion molecules are reorganized during the process of differentiation induced by overlay of Matrigel.

Copyright 1998 Academic Press.

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