Effects of growth stimulatory factors on mitogenicity and c-myc expression in poorly differentiated and well differentiated human colon carcinoma cells

Kathleen M. Mulder, Michael G. Brattain

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We demonstrate the differential sensitivity of poorly differentiated and well differentiated human colon carcinoma cells to nutrients alone or to nutrients and polypeptide growth factors under completely serumfree conditions.3H-Thymidine incorporation into trichloroacetic acid precipitable material and autoradiographic analysis indicated that nutrient replenishment alone was sufficient to initiate DNA synthesis in quiescent poorly differentiated cells, whereas defined polypeptide growth factors produced no additional effect. In contrast, well differentiated cells were mitogenically stimulated to a much greater extent by growth factors (epidermal growth factor + insulin + transferrin), than by nutrient replenishment alone. Expression of the c-myc protooncogene was increased approximately 5-fold after growth factor addition to the well differentiated cells. Maximal expression of c-myc occurred at 4 h post stimulation. In contrast, nutrients resulted in only a slight up-regulation of c-myc (1.8-fold) at approximately 90 min after addition. Addition of nutrients and/or growth factors to the poorly differentiated colon carcinoma cells resulted in an initial decline in c-myc expression (90 min), presumably due to removal of endogenous growth stimulators. Expression of c-myc returned to baseline levels by 24 h after additions. The results indicate that differential sensitivity to polypeptide growth factors is related to differentiation status in this model system and suggest that the insensitivity of poorly differentiated cells to exogenous growth factors may be due to a greater production of autocrine growth stimulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1215-1222
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1989


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology

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