In McA-RH 8994 rat hepatoma cells, all-trans-retinoic acid (t-RA) induces expression of the α-fetoprotein (AFP) and albumin genes and results in a phenotype similar to differentiated fetal hepatocytes. The present study elucidated the mechanism involved in AFP gene regulation mediated by retinoic acid. Northern blot analyses demonstrated that 9-cis-retinoic acid (c-RA), a ligand for retinoid x receptors (RXRs), also induced expression of the AFP gene in McA-RH 8994 cells. The induction was time- and dose-dependent. Northern blots and transfection assays using the 7.3 kb full-length regulatory region of the AFP gene demonstrated that c-RA was more effective than t-RA in regulating expression of the AFP gene. At 10-7 M, c-RA increased AFP mRNA 5-fold and chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) activity 2.5-fold. In contrast, t-RA at a concentration of 10-7 M exerted no significant effect; 10-6 to 10-5 M t-RA was needed to affect AFP gene expression. These data suggested that activation of RXRs is essential for the regulation of the AFP gene. Co-transfection experiments revealed that overexpression of RXRα in McA-RH 8994 cells further enhanced the CAT activity induced by c-RA. In addition, c-RA didnot alter the half-life of AFP mRNA. Thus, RXRα may play a crucial role in transcriptional regulation of the AFP gene and in controlling hepatocyte phenotype.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Molecular Endocrinology|
|State||Published - 1995|
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