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Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), a novel heparin-binding peptide growth factor of MW 97-kDa, is a potent mitogen for parenchymal hepatocytes. HGF is present in normal serum and increases following liver injury or partial hepatectomy. In addition to liver, HGF mRNA has been detected in kidney. In cultured rabbit proximal tubule cells, recombinant human HGF (10(-10) M) increased DNA synthesis, measured as [3H] thymidine incorporation, from 1345 +/- 213 to 2931 +/- 636 cpm/10(6) cells; n = 9; p < 0.005). HGF was found to exert mitogenic effects at lower concentrations than epidermal growth factor (EGF), with half maximal effects seen at 6 x 10(-11) M compared to 7 x 10(-10) M for EGF. HGF was additive with EGF in stimulating [3H] thymidine incorporation. In addition to rabbit proximal tubule cells, HGF increased proliferation in a cultured mouse proximal tubule cell line, MCT, and in rat glomerular epithelial cells. In contrast, HGF did not stimulate proliferation of either rat mesangial cells or a rat aortic smooth muscle cell line, A7r5. The HGF receptor is the product of the c-met proto-oncogene. C-met mRNA was detected in total kidney and in cultured proximal tubule cells but was not detected in cultured mesangial cells. In contrast, HGF mRNA was detected in mesangial cells but not in cultured proximal tubule cells. Preincubation of rabbit proximal tubule cells with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor, genistein (50 microM), prevented HGF-stimulation of [3H] thymidine incorporation. In LiCl pretreated rabbit proximal tubule cells loaded with [3H] myoinositol, HGF increased total inositol phosphate release, measured by anion exchange chromatography (control: 2181 +/- 414 vs HGF: 2609 +/- 478 cpm/10(6) cells; n = 6; p < 0.05). Although genistein did not affect baseline phosphoinositide hydrolysis, it inhibited the HGF stimulation. Thus, HGF is mitogenic for cultured proximal tubule cells as well as glomerular epithelial cells. Inhibition of proliferation and PI turnover by genistein suggests that HGF's actions are mediated in part by tyrosine kinase activity. In mammalian kidney, HGF released from mesangial cells may serve as a paracrine activator of the adjacent epithelial cells.
A Na(+)- and Cl(-)-coupled serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine, 5HT) transporter is expressed on human neuronal, platelet, placental, and pulmonary membranes. The brain 5HT transporter appears to be a principal site of action of therapeutic antidepressants and may mediate behavioral and/or toxic effects of cocaine and amphetamines. Oligonucleotides derived from consensus transporter sequences were used to identify human placental cDNAs highly related to the rat brain 5HT carrier. Transfection of one of these cDNAs into HeLa cells yields a high-affinity (Km = 463 nM), Na(+)- and Cl(-)-dependent 5HT transport activity which can be blocked by selective 5HT transport inhibitors, including paroxetine, fluoxetine, and imipramine, and which is antagonized by cocaine and amphetamine. Sequence analysis reveals a 630-amino acid open reading frame bearing 92% identity to the cloned rat brain 5HT transporter, with identical predicted topological features and conserved sites for posttranslational modifications. Unlike the rodent, where a single mRNA appears to encode 5HT transporters, multiple hybridizing RNAs are observed in human placenta and lung. Somatic cell hybrid and in situ hybridization studies are consistent, however, with a single gene encoding the human 5HT transporter, localized to chromosome 17q11.1-17q12.
A complementary DNA encoding the key subunit of the human N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor (NMDAR1) has been cloned using a probe derived from the rat NMDAR1 cDNA. The cDNA encodes a 938-amino acid protein, which shows 99% amino acid homology with the rat counterpart. Of the 7 of 938 amino acids which are different, three occur in the region of the signal peptide and the others in the extracellular amino-terminal domain preceding the 4 putative transmembrane segments. Expression in Xenopus oocytes demonstrated that the single protein encoded by the cloned cDNA possesses the electrophysiological and pharmacological properties characteristic of the NMDA receptor, including Ca2+ permeability, voltage-dependent Mg2+ block, and inhibition by selective antagonists such as Zn2+ and channel blockers. The high evolutionary conservation in the structure and properties of NMDAR1 argues strongly for the importance of this receptor in functions of glutamate neurotransmission. RNA blot analysis showed abundant expression of mRNA whose size is about 4.5 and 4.8 kilonucleotides. The human gene encoding the NMDAR1 subunit has been mapped to chromosome 9q34.3 by the analyses of blot hybridization of a DNA panel of human/hamster somatic cell hybrids and fluorescence in situ hybridization of human chromosomes.
The DNA sequences at and around the junctions between viral and cellular DNA in the polyoma virus transformed mouse cell line, TS-A-3T3, have been determined. No common sequence specificity or structural features at the joins have been observed. The sequence indicates that the 94K truncated large T antigen found in TS-A-3T3 cells is a hybrid protein in which the carboxy-terminal 19 amino acids are encoded by adjacent host sequences. Moreover, the three early region transcripts initiated in viral sequences are also hybrid in nature and appear to utilize a host polyadenylation signal associated with the hexanucleotide, AATAAA, found 100 bp beyond a viral-host join.
Malic enzyme (EC 126.96.36.199) mRNA was partially purified to 12% of total mRNA activity (greater than 150-fold enrichment) from 3-5-3'-triiodo-L-thyronine-carbohydrate-stimulated rat liver by polysome immunopurification followed by oligo(dT)-cellulose chromatography. This preparation was used as the template for synthesis of cDNA on a pBR322-SV40 hybrid plasmid DNA primer which was then circularized with linker DNA and used to transform Escherichia coli. The resulting transformants were screened by in situ differential hybridization using 32P-labeled poly(A+)RNA prepared from uninduced and 3-5-3'-triiodo-L-thyronine-carbohydrate-induced rat livers. Of 750 transformants screened, 6 were found to hybridize differentially; 1 of these, prME, contained an insert of about 1250 base pairs and hybrid-selected an mRNA which directed synthesis of malic enzyme in a cell-free translation system. Using this cDNA as a probe, we demonstrated that the level of malic enzyme mRNA after thyroid hormone treatment was markedly increased and the size of the major malic enzyme mRNA was shown by Northern analysis to be about 2700 nucleotides in length.
Electrophoresis of rat dorsal prostate mRNAs on agarose gels containing methyl mercury hydroxide indicates the presence of several highly abundant mRNAs. In vitro translation of the total mRNAs in a cell-free system, followed by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, yields protein products including two intense bands corresponding to 23,000 and 21,000 Da. Following castration of rats, these in vitro translation products of dorsal prostate mRNAs are absent. However, the dorsal prostate levels of these two proteins are returned to normal in castrated rats which have received testosterone. In order to investigate these abundant mRNAs of the dorsal prostate, we have constructed double-stranded cDNA clones using poly(A+) RNA extracted from that rat tissue. Clones containing sequences complementary to abundant mRNAs were selected kinetically by colony hybridization with 32P-labeled dorsal prostate cDNA. Further characterization of individual clones was accomplished by restriction mapping and Northern blot analysis. One clone, pM-40, was found to be near full length and was used for further studies. Interestingly, in hybrid-arrested cell-free translation, clone pM-40 completely arrests the translation of both the 23,000- and 21,000-Da protein products indicating close sequence homology between these two proteins. Furthermore, dot hybridization experiments demonstrate that, in the dorsal prostate, the pM-40-specific mRNAs decrease following castration and are restored by testosterone administration. However, the low levels of the same mRNAs in the ventral prostate are not altered by androgen manipulation. Thus, two closely related, androgen-dependent tissues maintain differential regulation of the pM-40 gene(s). This system provides an opportunity to study in two tissues the differential regulation of a gene that may be duplicated or that may code for two separate proteins.
Several types of cancer cells produce polypeptide growth factors and often the same cells have functional receptors for the released growth factor (autocrine secretion). We have studied expression of genes encoding somatomedin-C/insulin-like growth factor-I (Sm-C/IGF-I) and IGF-II, in rat medullary thyroid carcinomas (MTCs) in different stages of tumour differentiation. RNAs hybridizing specifically to an IGF-I cDNA probe were detected in 6 out of 7 differentiated MTCs and IGF-II related RNAs were demonstrated in 5 out of these 7 differentiated MTCs. In 5 anaplastic MTCs no IGF RNAs were detected, except for a small amount of IGF-II related RNA in one tumour.
Alternative splicing of eukaryotic messenger RNA precursors represents a common mechanism for generating multiple transcripts from a single gene. Although there has been increasing information concerning the sequence requirements and the biochemical mechanisms involved in the constitutive splicing of primary RNA transcripts, very little is known about the sequences or mechanisms which determine alternative RNA-processing events in complex transcription units. The calcitonin/calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) primary RNA transcript undergoes tissue-specific alternative processing, resulting in the differential production of calcitonin mRNA in thyroid C cells and CGRP mRNA in neurons of the central and peripheral nervous systems. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying these alternative RNA processing events, we have examined the nucleotide sequences involved in the production of calcitonin and CGRP mRNAs. Analyses of HeLa and F9 cell lines transfected with a variety of mutant calcitonin/CGRP transcription units have demonstrated that alternative splice-site selection is primarily regulated by cis-active element(s) near the calcitonin-specific 3'-splice junction. We suggest that the tissue-specific pattern of alternative RNA processing is conferred by sequence information at the calcitonin-specific acceptor which serves to inhibit the production of calcitonin transcripts in CGRP-producing cells.
A nontransformed rat jejunal crypt cell line (IEC-6) expresses transforming growth factor type beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) mRNA, secretes latent 125I-labeled TGF-beta 1 competing activity into culture medium, and binds 125I-labeled TGF-beta 1 to specific, high-affinity (Kd = 3.7 pM) cell surface receptors. IEC-6 cell growth is markedly inhibited by TGF-beta 1 and TGF-beta 2 with half-maximal inhibition occurring between 0.1 and 1.0 ng of TGF-beta 1 per ml. TGF-beta 1-mediated growth inhibition is not associated with the appearance of biochemical markers of enterocyte differentiation such as alkaline phosphatase expression and sucrase activity. TGF-beta 1 (10 ng/ml) increases steady-state levels of its own mRNA expression within 8 hr of treatment of rapidly growing IEC-6 cells. In freshly isolated rat jejunal enterocytes that are sequentially eluted from the crypt villus axis, TGF-beta 1 mRNA expression is most abundant in terminally differentiated villus tip cells and least abundant in the less differentiated, mitotically active crypt cells. We conclude that TGF-beta 1 is an autoregulated growth inhibitor in IEC-6 cells that potentially functions in an autocrine manner. In the rat jejunal epithelium, TGF-beta 1 expression is most prominently localized to the villus tip--i.e., the region of the crypt villus unit that is characterized by the terminally differentiated phenotype. These data suggest that TGF-beta 1 may function in coordination of the rapid cell turnover typical for the intestinal epithelium.
The local production and action of an epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like substance within the seminiferous tubule was investigated as a potential mediator of cell-cell interactions. Peritubular (myoid) and Sertoli cells were isolated and cultured under serum-free conditions. Proteins secreted by Sertoli and peritubular cells were found to contain a component that bound to the EGF receptor in a RRA. Separation of secreted proteins by reverse phase chromatography fractionated a protein that contained EGF bioactivity in its activity to stimulate growth of an EGF-dependent cell line. Biochemical properties examined for both Sertoli and peritubular cell EGF activities were similar with each other, but distinct from murine EGF. Northern blot analysis with an EGF cDNA probe did not detect EGF gene expression in peritubular, Sertoli, or germ cells. The possible production of an EGF-like substance such as transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF alpha) was investigated with a molecular probe to human TGF alpha. Both peritubular and Sertoli cells contained a 4.5-kilobase mRNA species that hybridized in a Northern blot analysis with a human TGF alpha cRNA probe. An immunoblot with a TGF alpha antisera confirmed the production of TGF alpha by the detection of a protein in both Sertoli and peritubular cell secreted proteins. TGF alpha gene expression was not detected in freshly isolated germ cells. Scatchard analysis revealed the presence of high affinity EGF receptors on peritubular cells and the absence of such receptors on Sertoli or germ cells. TGF alpha was found to stimulate peritubular cell proliferation, but had no effect on Sertoli cell growth. The effects of hormones and TGF alpha on Sertoli cell function and differentiation were assayed through an examination of transferrin production by Sertoli cells. TGF alpha had no direct effect on transferrin production or the ability of hormones to influence Sertoli cells. However, the presence of peritubular cells in coculture with Sertoli cells allowed TGF alpha to stimulate transferrin production. TGF alpha was also found to have relatively rapid effects on peritubular cell migration and the promotion of colony formation in culture. Cocultures of peritubular and Sertoli cells also responded to TGF alpha by the formation of large clusters of cells. Observations demonstrate the local production of TGF alpha by Sertoli and peritubular cells, and action of TGF alpha on peritubular cells and, potentially, Sertoli cells. The local production and action of TGF alpha may have a critical role as a paracrine/autocrine factor involved in the maintenance of testicular function.