The molecular events that regulate differentiation of human colon mucosal cells are not known. Although a number of in vitro models to study this question exist, none have identified a gene product which could function as a mediator of cell differentiation. Although the Ki-ras gene is frequently mutated in human colon cancer, the Ha-ras protooncogene is maximally expressed in the most differentiated cells of intestinal mucosa. In order to study the effects of Ha-ras gene overexpression on the differentiation phenotype in human colon cancer cells, we have expressed the v-rasH oncogene in CaCO2 cells. This maneuver resulted in a marked induction of gene expression of multiple markers characteristic of intestinal brush border differentiation. These include a > or = 30-fold induction of sucrase, a 10-fold increase in intestinal alkaline phosphatase, a 20-fold induction of transforming growth factor alpha, and a 5-fold increase in transforming growth factor beta 1 steady-state mRNA levels. Finally, the CaCO2-ras cells undergo a > or = 95% reduction in DNA synthesis under serum-deficient conditions and cannot be restimulated after such treatment, suggesting terminal differentiation, whereas the same treatment has no effect on the proliferative capacity of the parent CaCO2 cell line. These studies with CaCO2 human colon cancer cells provide a model to study the role of v-rasH and related genes in colon epithelial differentiation.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Cell Growth and Differentiation|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 1993|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology
- Molecular Biology