[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A classic in vitro model of branching morphogenesis utilizes the Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cell line. MDCK Strain II cells form hollow monoclonal cysts in a three-dimensional collagen matrix over the course of 10 days and tubulate in response to hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). We and our colleagues previously showed that activation of the extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK, aka MAPK) pathway is necessary and sufficient to induce tubulogenesis in MDCK cells. We also showed in a microarray study that one of the genes upregulated by HGF was the known tubulogene fibronectin. Given that HGF activates a multitude of signaling pathways, including ERK/MAPK, to test the intracellular regulatory pathway, we used two distinct inhibitors of ERK activation (U0126 and PD098059). Following induction of MDCK Type II cells with HGF, tubulogenic fibronectin mRNA was upregulated fourfold by real-time PCR, and minimal or no change in fibronectin expression was seen when HGF was added with either U0126 or PD098059. We confirmed these results using an MDCK cell line inducible for Raf, which is upstream of ERK. Following activation of Raf, fibronectin mRNA and protein expression were increased to a similar degree as was seen following HGF induction. Furthermore, MDCK Strain I cells, which originate from collecting ducts and have constitutively active ERK, spontaneously initiate tubulogenesis. We show here that MDCK Strain I cells have high levels of fibronectin mRNA and protein compared to MDCK Strain II cells. When U0126 and PD098059 were added to MDCK Strain I cells, fibronectin mRNA, and protein levels were decreased to levels seen in MDCK Strain II cells. These data allow us to complete what we believe is the first description of a tubulogenic pathway from receptor/ligand (HGF/CMET), through an intracellular signaling pathway (ERK/MAPK), to transcription and, finally, secretion of a critical tubuloprotein (fibronectin).
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 03/2007; 353(3):793-8. · 2.41 Impact Factor