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Drug Metab Dispos. 2007 Apr;35(4):503-7. Epub 2007 Jan 12.

Zonal gene expression in mouse liver resembles expression patterns of Ha-ras and beta-catenin mutated hepatomas.

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Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Toxicology, University of Tuebingen, Wilhelmstr. 56, 72074 Tuebingen, Germany.


Hepatocytes of the periportal and perivenous zones of the liver lobule differ in their levels and activities of various enzymes and other proteins. We have recently suggested that beta-catenin- and Ras-dependent signaling pathways play an important role in the regulation of perivenous and periportal gene expression profiles. This hypothesis was primarily based on similarities in zonal differences in gene expression of hepatocytes from normal liver with gene expression patterns of liver tumors: several proteins and mRNAs preferentially expressed in periportal hepatocytes were often overexpressed in Ha-ras mutated mouse liver tumors, whereas perivenous markers were overexpressed in Ctnnb1 (encoding beta-catenin) mutated tumors. We have now extended this work by use of data from two previously conducted microarray analyses aimed to analyze 1) global gene expression patterns of Ha-ras and Ctnnb1 mutated mouse liver tumors and 2) transcriptome differences between periportal and perivenous mouse hepatocytes. By comparison of the datasets, 134 genes or expressed sequences were identified that were present in both datasets. Gene expression patterns in perivenous hepatocytes and Ctnnb1 mutated hepatoma cells were strongly correlated: 96.5% of the genes present in both datasets were regulated in the same direction. In analogy, expression of 74.1% of the genes deregulated in Ha-ras mutated tumors was correlated with the respective expression patterns in periportal hepatocytes. These findings favor the hypothesis that gene expression patterns in periportal and perivenous hepatocytes are regulated, at least in part, by Ras- and beta-catenin-dependent signaling pathways.

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