Repetitive 5‐azacytidine treatments of Fao cells induce a stable and strong expression of gamma‐glutamyl transpeptidase

Ja‐Hyun ‐H Baik, Naima Chikhi, Frédérique Bulle, Galicia Giuili, Georges Guellaën, Sylvie Siegrist

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The role of DNA methylation in the expression of the rat gamma‐glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) gene was assessed in the Fao cell line using a hypomethylating agent, 5‐azacytidine. Ten repetitive treatments of the cells, with 8 μM 5‐azacytidine for 24 h, led to 13‐ and 80‐fold increases, respectively, in GGT activity and in GGT mRNA level. The DNA methylation patterns generated by the isoschizomeric restriction enzymes Hpa II and Msp I indicated that the GGT gene, highly methylated in Fao cells, became strongly demethylated after 5‐azacytidine treatments. Thus, DNA demethylation increases the expression of the GGT gene. 5‐Azacytidine treatments also increased, but to a lesser extent, mRNAs level for actin, albumin, mitochondrial aspartate aminotransferase, aldolase BmRNAs (12‐ to 16‐fold) as wells as for tubulin, gluthathione transferese, and tyrosine aminotransferase mRNAs (2‐to 5‐fold). The GGT gene expression was further studied in B4 cells, cloned from the demethylated Fao cell population. This clone B4 exhibited a stable and strong GGT activity and a highly demethylated GGT gene. Among the three GGT mRNA I, II, or III, transcribed from three different promoters of the single rat GGT gene, only mRNA III was detected in Fao cells and was increased in clone B4, indicating that the demethylation acts on the promoter for mRNA III. The analysis of the differentiation state of B4 cells, as compared to Fao cells, showed a loss of the regulation of GGT and aspartate aminotransferase genes by dexamethasone, as well as a loss of the gluconeogenic pathway. Interestingly, B4 cells have retained many other specific functions of hepatic differentiation and have acquired α‐fetoprotein expression; thus this clone exhibits the characteristics of a hepatic fetal phenotype. © 1992 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-416
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1992 Nov
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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