The first goal of the work reported here was to prepare single-stranded DNA sequences for use in studies on the regulation of albumin gene expression. A double-stranded rat albumin cDNA clone was subcloned into the bacteriophage vector M13mp7. Single-stranded recombinant clones were screened for albumin sequences containing either the mRNA strand or the complementary strand. Two clones were selected that contained the 1,200 nucleotide long 3' end of the albumin sequence. DNA from the clone containing the mRNA strand was used as a template for DNA polymerase I to prepare a radiolabeled, single-stranded cDNA to albumin mRNA. This radiolabeled cDNA probe was used to quantitate the relative abundance of albumin mRNA in samples of total cellular RNA. DNA from the clone containing the complementary strand was used to measure relative rates of albumin gene transcription in isolated nuclei. The second goal was to use the single-stranded DNA probes to investigate the mechanism of the insulin-mediated stimulation of albumin synthesis in primary cultures of rat hepatocytes. Addition of insulin to hepatocytes maintained in a chemically defined, serum-free medium for 40 h in the absence of any hormones resulted in a specific 1.5- to 2.5-fold stimulation of albumin gene transcription that was maximal at 3 h and was maintained above control values for at least 24 h. The relative abundance of albumin mRNA and albumin secretion increased correspondingly within 24 to 30 h. These parameters remained above control levels for at least 60 h after addition of insulin. Maximal responses were attained at an insulin concentration of 100 nM and there was a close correspondence between albumin gene transcription and albumin secretion at each concentration tested. The rate of albumin gene transcription in nuclei isolated from livers of diabetic rats was reduced to 50% of the value recorded in control nuclei. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that insulin regulates synthesis of albumin at the level of gene transcription.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology