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Endocrinology. 2004 Jan;145(1):437-46. Epub 2003 Oct 3.

Immortalization of epididymal epithelium in transgenic mice expressing simian virus 40 T antigen: characterization of cell lines and regulation of the polyoma enhancer activator 3.

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Department of Physiology, Institute of Biomedicine, University of Turku, 20520 Turku, Finland.


In the present study epididymal epithelium was immortalized in transgenic mice by expressing simian virus 40 T antigen under a 5.0-kb mouse glutathione peroxidase 5 promoter (GPX5-Tag1). Epididymal tumorigenesis was associated with an increase in c-Myc expression, and a marked decrease in B-Myc expression, with a 500-fold lower level in the GPX5-Tag1 caput epididymis compared with wild-type caput. Furthermore, B-Myc was undetectable in the immortalized corpus and cauda epididymis. Hence, it is possible that the normally high B-Myc expression in the epididymis is one of the factors contributing to the highly resistant nature of epididymis toward immortalization. Morphologically different epithelial cell lines were generated from the immortalized epididymides, and the cells expressed several genes typical for epididymal epithelium, such as mouse epididymal 1, mouse epididymal protein 9, androgen and estrogen receptors, anion exchangers 2 and 4, retinoic acid receptor alpha, and polyoma enhancer activator 3 (PEA3). This indicated the differentiated status of the cells and their usefulness for analyzing epididymal gene expression in vitro. As PEA3 is considered to be one of the transcription factors responsible for epididymal gene expression, we further studied its regulation in epididymal cells in vitro. The data showed that PEA3 mRNA expression is regulated in the epididymis via protein kinase A and ERK signaling cascades. Inhibiting protein kinase A resulted in up-regulation and inhibiting ERK resulted in down-regulation of PEA3 mRNA, whereas no significant effect on PEA3 expression was found by modulating the protein kinase C, stress-activated p38, phosphoinositol 3-kinase and p70 S6 kinase cascades.

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