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Cell type-specific expression of the O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase gene in normal human liver tissues as revealed by in situ hybridization

, : Cell type-specific expression of the O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase gene in normal human liver tissues as revealed by in situ hybridization. Carcinogenesis 14(4): 737-741

The O6-alkylguanine-DNA alkyltransferase (ATase) is known to overcome the effects of promutagenic, precarcinogenic O6-alkylguanine induced in DNA by exposure to environmental, chemotherapeutic and dietary alkylating agents. Within an organ, the cell type-specific responses to these agents may be attributed, in part, to varying expression of critical DNA repair genes, like ATase. In order to determine the cell-specific expression of the human ATase gene, in situ hybridization was used to map the cellular distribution of ATase mRNA in tissue sections of normal human fetal and adult livers. Tissue sections were hybridized with a digoxigenin-labeled 39 base oligomer, antisense to ATase cDNA. Following immunodetection, using an alkaline phosphatase-conjugated anti-digoxigenin antibody, the ATase-specific mRNA levels were visualized in parallel with liver cell type identification. The specificity of the antisense probe and hybridization to human ATase mRNA was demonstrated by: (i) staining of Mer+ and not Mer- cells by the antisense probe; (ii) faint staining of liver sections when the antisense probe was not used during hybridization; (iii) no hybridization of liver sections by the sense probe; (iv) no staining of sections preincubated with RNase before hybridization; and (v) the retention of cell type-specific staining patterns in tissue sections incubated with DNase prior to hybridization with the antisense probe. The staining patterns appeared similar in adjacent sections of tissues obtained from the same liver and in sections obtained from either adult or fetal livers of different individuals. The expression of the ATase mRNA, as noted by stain intensity, appeared highest in all of the bile ductal cells. There was a heterogenous expression in hepatocytes, which varied from moderate to high stain. Staining in Kupffer cells also appeared to be high. Sinusoidal cells, endothelial cells of the hepatic artery and cells of the connective tissue showed weak hybridization, indicating low levels of ATase mRNA. These data explain, in part, the basis for a differential response of various cell types within the liver to the mutagenic and carcinogenic effects of alkylating agents.


PMID: 8472340

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