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Liver-enriched transcription factors are critical for the expression of hepatocyte marker genes in mES-derived hepatocyte-lineage cells

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Author(s): Kheolamai Pakpoom | Dickson Alan

Journal: BMC Molecular Biology
ISSN 1471-2199

Volume: 10;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 35;
Date: 2009;
Original page

ABSTRACT
Abstract Background Induction of stem cell differentiation toward functional hepatocytes is hampered by lack of knowledge of the hepatocyte differentiation processes. The overall objective of this project is to characterize key stages in the hepatocyte differentiation process. Results We established a mouse embryonic stem (mES) cell culture system which exhibited changes in gene expression profiles similar to those observed in the development of endodermal and hepatocyte-lineage cells previously described in the normal mouse embryo. Transgenic mES cells were established that permitted isolation of enriched hepatocyte-lineage populations. This approach has isolated mES-derived hepatocyte-lineage cells that express several markers of mature hepatocytes including albumin, glucose-6-phosphatase, tyrosine aminotransferase, cytochrome P450-3a, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and tryptophan 2,3-dioxygenase. In addition, our results show that the up-regulation of the expression levels of hepatocyte nuclear factor-3α, -4α, -6, and CCAAT-enhancer binding protein-β might be critical for passage into late-stage differentiation towards functional hepatocytes. These data present important steps for definition of regulatory phenomena that direct specific cell fate determination. Conclusion The mES cell culture system generated in this study provides a model for studying transition between stages of the hepatocyte development and has significant potential value for studying the molecular basis of hepatocyte differentiation in vitro.
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