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Cancer Res. 1988 Nov 15;48(22):6371-4.

Differential regulation of normal and tumor alpha 1-fetoprotein genes in fetal hepatocyte x hepatoma hybrids.

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Le Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie de l'Université Laval, L'Hôtel-Dieu de Québec, Canada.


Fetal rat hepatocytes and mouse hepatoma cells actively expressing alpha 1-fetoprotein (AFP) and albumin genes were fused with the use of Sendai virus, and the expression of normal (rat) and tumor (mouse) AFP and albumin genes was analyzed in hybrid clones. The tumor AFP gene and both albumin genes were active in 103 hybrids. Expression of the normal fetal rat AFP gene, however, was maintained in only 3 hybrids, and it was frequently lost or decreased selectively upon subcloning. Furthermore, the normal AFP gene, when expressed, was more reactive than the tumor AFP gene to repression by a glucocorticosteroid hormone. These results suggest constitutive differences in the manner an oncofetal gene is activated and regulated in normal and neoplastic states. AFP gene expression in normal hepatocytes appears to be subordinated to a differentiation program degenerated and bypassed in hepatoma cells.

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