Alterations in mRNA stability during rat liver regeneration

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We examined the in vivo transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation of various genes involved in hepatocyte growth and replication that exhibited changes in steady-state mRNA levels after 70% partial hepatectomy (PH). Of the 19 genes examined by nuclear run-on assay, 17 demonstrated no change in transcriptional activity through the first 96 h of regeneration. However, results from in vivo half-life determinations indicated that changes in mRNA stability played a critical role in regulating transcript levels during liver regeneration. For many of the genes, alterations in transcript abundance correlated with similar changes in mRNA half-lives. Inhibition of protein synthesis by cycloheximide was generally associated with increased levels of mRNA expression, but no detectable changes in transcriptional rates in both control and regenerating rat liver. Finally, genomic methylation status was investigated by Southern analysis for several genes that displayed changes in mRNA stability. Interestingly, increases in mRNA half-lives for the genes p53, c-myc, H-ras, and ornithine decarboxylase were associated with decreased genomic methylation. In conclusion, regulation of gene expression beyond the immediate early phase of the cell cycle during rat liver regeneration after PH occurs predominantly at the posttranscriptional level. mRNA stability appears to be a significant factor in this control, and may itself be modulated by the methylation status of the corresponding genomic DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G763-G777
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5 33-5
StatePublished - 1996


  • liver regeneration
  • messenger ribonucleic acid stability
  • posttranscriptional regulation


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