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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hormonal and cell density regulation of hepatic gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase gene expression.

We previously reported that the activity of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase (GCS), the rate-limiting enzyme in GSH synthesis, is under both hormonal and cell density regulation in cultured rat hepatocytes. Specifically, the addition of insulin or hydrocortisone to culture media or the lowering of the initial plating cell density increased cell GSH by increasing the activity of GCS. In the present study, we examined the molecular mechanism of these effects. To determine whether the increase in GCS activity is associated with an increase in GCS heavy subunit (GCS-HS) mRNA expression, the steady state mRNA levels of GCS-HS were examined with the use of Northern blots. After 24-hr treatment of high density (0.6 x 10(5) cells/cm2) cultured rat hepatocytes with insulin (1 micrograms/ml) or hydrocortisone (50 nM), the steady state GCS-HS mRNA level increased by approximately 1-2 fold. When the plating density was decreased to 0.1 x 10(5) cells/cm2, the steady state GCS-HS mRNA level also increased by 1-2 fold 24 hr later. An increase in the steady state GCS-HS mRNA level was found within 4 hr of either hormonal treatment or cell density manipulation. The increase in steady state GCS-HS mRNA level resulted from increased gene transcription, as the transcriptional rates of GCS-HS after hormonal or cell density manipulation were increased by 2-3-fold, whereas the rates of GCS-HS mRNA degradation remained unchanged. Western blotting confirmed the increase in GCS-HS protein level after hormone treatment or lowering of plating cell density. When examined in vivo, the steady state GCS-HS mRNA level decreased by 50% in a rat in which diabetes had been induced with streptozotocin for 1 week; this was prevented with insulin replacement. In summary, GCS-HS gene expression is under both hormonal and cell density regulation.[1]


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