Clusterin (gp 80, apolipoprotein J, TRPM-2) is a widely expressed multifunctional glycoprotein. Its demonstrated and proposed functions include the transport of lipids and membrane fragments, the inhibition of the cytolytic action of the terminal complement complex and the modulation of cell—cell interactions. The expression of the gene is enhanced during tissue injury and remodelling and by hormone-withdrawal-induced apoptosis of prostate and mammary cells. We show here that, in the kidney-derived epithelial cell line MDCK, clusterin mRNA is repressed by glucocorticoids and by progesterone. Treatment with epidermal growth factor also represses clusterin gene expression in MDCK cells. Incubation with 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate, which activates protein kinase C (PKC), induces clusterin mRNA, while chelerythrine, an inhibitor of PKC, represses clusterin gene expression, suggesting that the clusterin gene responds to signalling pathways involving PKC. These results open up the possibility of studying the complex regulation of the clusterin gene by multiple signal transduction pathways within a single cell type, and most importantly, of characterizing interactions between the individual signal transduction cascades.
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