Cyclic-AMP deficient MDCK cells form tubules

R. J. Klebe, A. Grant, G. Grant, Paramita M Ghosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


It has been known for many years that MDCK cells form blister-like structures, termed domes. During an examination of the morphology of a large number of MDCK clones, we found that two stable morphotypes exist in an MDCK cell population-namely, dome-forming and tubule-forming clones. When maintained at high cell density, tubule-forming clones displayed large numbers of anastomosing tubules which contained lumens. The frequency of observation of the tubule-forming clones in an MDCK population was 0.7%. Tubule-forming MDCK clones should be useful in studying tubule morphogenesis. While agents that affect protein kinase A activity increased dome formation, the same agents abolished the formation of tubules in all tubule-forming clones. In contrast, drugs that stimulate protein kinase C activity (phorbol esters and staurosporine) decreased dome formation and increased tubule morphogenesis in all MDCK morphotypes. Tubule-forming clones were found to have lower resting levels of cyclic-AMP and to respond to forskolin stimulation of adenylate cyclase less readily. Hence, signals transmitted by the protein kinase C pathway appear to lead to tubule formation in MDCK cells, while signals transmitted through the protein kinase A pathway lead to dome formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)453-462
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • cyclic-AMP
  • MDCK cells
  • morphogenesis
  • protein kinase A
  • protein kinase C
  • signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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