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Biochem J. 1998 Feb 15;330 ( Pt 1):573-9.

Effects of nutrient deprivation and differentiation on the expression of growth-arrest genes (gas and gadd) in F9 embryonal carcinoma cells.

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The Rowett Research Institute, Greenburn Road, Bucksburn, Aberdeen AB21 9SB, Scotland.


The growth-arrest genes (gas and gadd) are widely expressed during mammalian embryogenesis and may be useful as markers of nutritional stress in the embryo. F9 embryonal carcinoma cells have been used to characterize the effect of serum or amino acid deficiency on growth-arrest gene expression in a differentiating embryonic cell. The differentiation markers, homeobox B2 (HoxB2), collagen type IV and laminin B2, were not induced by growth arrest. Treatment with all-trans retinoic acid (RA) produced a dose-dependent increase in alkaline phosphatase activity, which was unchanged in lysine-deficient medium and reduced in low-serum medium. Low-serum medium also reduced HoxB2 expression. There was a transient 2-6-fold increase in mRNAs for C/EBP-beta, gadd153/CHOP-10 and gas5 genes 24 h after transfer to amino-acid-deficient media. The mRNAs for the gas2 and gas6 genes began to rise slowly by 5-10-fold after a delay of approx. 24 h. The transient increases did not occur in low-serum medium where there was a much smaller and slower increase. Differentiation caused 1-2-fold increases in gas2, gas3 and gas6 mRNA levels. The transient overexpression of gas5, gadd153/CHOP-10 and CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein-beta, and the later expression of gas6 mRNAs in response to amino acid deficiency, were not affected by differentiation. RA treatment increased the expression of gas3 and caused gas2 to be transiently overexpressed in amino-acid-deficient medium. Differentiation in serum-deficient medium did not significantly alter the levels of the growth-arrest gene mRNAs. These results show that in F9 cells the growth-arrest genes are expressed sequentially as a result of nutrient stress.

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