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Differentiation. 1990 Mar;43(1):20-8.

Effects of a tumour promoter, 12-0-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA), on expression of differentiated phenotype in the chick retinal pigmented epithelial cells and on their interactions with the native basement membrane and with artificial substrata.

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Department of Anatomy, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Chick retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells grown in vitro on basement membrane matrices from the Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm tumour (BM-matrigel) do not spread, and they maintain their differentiated phenotype, most notably the heavy pigmentation. Maintenance of the differentiated phenotype by RPE cells on BM-matrigel is promoted not only by the biochemical composition of the gel but also by its mechanical properties, i.e., its low rigidity prevents cell spreading. In this report, RPE cells on BM-matrigel were treated with 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) to promote the transformed phenotype and diminish cell traction. In contrast to most cell types TPA treatment induced RPE cells to increase their spread area. TPA promoted RPE cell spreading on BM-matrigel and changed the spatial organization of actin and actin-associated proteins in the cytoskeleton-ECM linkage complexes, uncoupling actin from its extracellular counterpart. TPA did not affect other components of the cytoskeleton in RPE cells. TPA also affected labile adhesions i.e., focal contacts and adherens junctions in statu nascendi, but preformed, stable adherens junctions were resistant to TPA. TPA enhanced proliferation, blocked melanogenesis and thus inhibited differentiation of RPE cells grown on either artificial substrata or their natural basement membrane.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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