Expression of a growth arrest specific gene (gas-6) during liver regeneration: Molecular mechanisms and signalling pathways

Marina Ferrero, Maria Alfonsina Desiderio, Alessia Martinotti, Cecilia Melani, Aldo Bernelli-Zazzera, Mario P. Colombo, Gaetano Cairo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A set of growth arrest-specific (gas) genes negatively regulated by serum has been identified. To define the role of gas genes in a model of cell proliferation in vivo we analyzed the expression of one of these genes (gas- 6) during liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy (PH). We found that gas-6 mRNA was down-regulated 4 hours after PH, within the G0 to G1 transition. Later on, gas-6 mRNA increased over the level found in normal liver with a peak at 16 hours, before the onset of DNA synthesis. This surge was probably triggered by an inflammatory response caused by the surgical trauma, because an increase of similar extent occurring with the same time course was present in livers of sham-operated and turpentine-treated rats. Comparison of mRNA steady state levels with nuclear transcription rates indicated that gas-6 expression is post-transcriptionally regulated. As we found that down-regulation of gas-6 expression was prevented by treatment with Actinomycin D, a labile protein might be involved in the determination of gas-6 mRNA stability. To investigate the mitogenic signals controlling gas-6 expression during liver regeneration we treated hepatectomized rats with a specific alpha-1-adrenoceptor blocker (prazosin) as well as with drugs which modify intracellular calcium levels. The decrease of gas-6 mRNA 4 hours after PH was prevented by prazosin and by neomycin, an inhibitor of calcium release from endogenous stores. These findings suggest that down-regulation of gas-6 expression during hepatic regeneration is triggered by catecholamines interaction with alpha-1-adrenergic receptors and by subsequent calcium release. In addition we found that the rise of gas-6 gene expression occurring at 16 hours after PH was not affected by prazosin but was inhibited by trifluoperazine. Therefore, we suggest that up-regulation of gas-6 gene expression is mediated by the interaction of calcium with calmodulin, independently of catecholamines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-269
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology


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