Integrin-linked kinase is involved in matrix-induced hepatocyte differentiation
Bowen, William C.
Yang, Yu Q.
Michalopoulos, George Konstantine
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Hepatocytes have restricted proliferative capacity in culture and when cultured without matrix, lose the hepatocyte-specific gene expression and characteristic cellular micro-architecture. Overlay of matrix-preparations on de-differentiated hepatocytes restores differentiation. Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is a cell-matrix-adhesion protein crucial in fundamental processes such as differentiation and survival. In this study, we investigated the role of ILK, and its binding partners PINCH, α-parvin, and Mig-2 in matrix-induced hepatocyte differentiation. We report here that ILK is present in the liver and localizes at cell-matrix adhesions of cultured hepatocytes. We also show that ILK, PINCH, α-parvin, and Mig-2 expression level is dramatically reduced in the re-differentiated hepatocytes. Interestingly, hepatocytes lacking ILK undergo matrix-induced differentiation but their differentiation is incomplete, as judged by monitoring cell morphology and production of albumin. Our results show that ILK and cell-matrix adhesion proteins play an important role in the process of matrix-induced hepatocyte differentiation.