The availability of cell lines that retain their differentiation programs is important for the study of differentiated cell types and the development of cell therapies. DNA tumor virus genes are often used to establish cell lines from primary culture for the analysis of cell-specific functions. To ascertain whether viral immortalizing or transforming genes differed in their effects on cellular differentiation programs, the E1A 12S (WT12S) gene of adenovirus and the large T antigen (LT) gene of SV40 were used to derive stable cell lines from primary kidney. The resultant cell types exhibited very different morphologies, growth and behavior patterns, differentiation states, and plasticities. Renal cells immortalized by LT exhibited branching tubulogenesis in response to Matrigel. This was in contrast to their behavior under normal culture conditions, wherein they were less differentiated, very nonadhesive, very rapidly growing, and transformed. These cells coexpressed adult epithelial (keratin) and embryonic mesenchymal (vimentin, osteopontin, FSP1, PAX-2, and WT1) genes. WT12S-immortalized cells grown on or in Matrigel formed cysts or tubules, consistent with their expression profiles, which consisted of both epithelial and adult kidney markers (E-cadherin, α-catenin, circumferential actin filaments (CAF), alkaline phosphatase, aminopeptidase M, BMP7, or podocalyxin), but not embryonic/mesenchymal markers (PAX-2 or WT1). The WT12S-expressing cells were well differentiated, adhesive, slow growing, and nontransformed. Thus, cells expressing WT12S maintained their original differentiation status and were less sensitive to reprogramming, while cells expressing LT were dedifferentiated, but had the potential for reprogramming by exogenous factors.
- Branching morphogenesis
- Epithelial mesenchymal transition
ASJC Scopus subject areas