Author(s): Parent R, Beretta L
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Abstract BACKGROUND: We investigated the molecular events associated with the differentiation of liver progenitor cells into functional and polarized hepatocytes, using human HepaRG cells that display potent hepatocytic differentiation-inducible properties and share some features with liver progenitor cells. RESULTS: Profiling of total and of polysome-bound transcripts isolated from HepaRG cells undergoing hepatocytic differentiation was performed. A group of 3,071 probe sets was reproducibly regulated by at least 2-fold in total or in polysome-bound RNA populations, upon differentiation. The fold changes in the total and the polysome-bound RNA populations for these 3,071 probe sets were poorly correlated (R = 0.38). Moreover, while the majority of the regulated polysome-bound RNA probe sets were up-regulated upon differentiation, the majority of the regulated probe sets selected from the total RNA population was down-regulated. Genes translationally up-regulated were associated with cell cycle inhibition, increased susceptibility to apoptosis and innate immunity. In contrast, genes transcriptionally up-regulated during differentiation corresponded in the majority to liver-enriched transcripts involved in lipid homeostasis and drug metabolism. Finally, several epithelial and hepato-specific transcripts were strongly induced in the total RNA population but were translationally repressed. CONCLUSION: Translational regulation is the main genomic event associated with hepatocytic differentiation of liver progenitor cells in vitro and targets genes critical for moderating hepatocellular growth, cell death and susceptibility to pathogens. Transcriptional regulation targets specifically liver-enriched transcripts vital for establishing normal hepatic energy homeostasis, cell morphology and polarization. The hepatocytic differentiation is also accompanied by a reduction of the transcript content complexity.
This article was published in Genome Biol
and referenced in Journal of Molecular and Genetic Medicine