The present study was performed in four renal cell lines to evaluate their capability to: (1) produce and express transforming growth factor α (TGFα), its respective receptor, the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFr) and the small G protein, RhoA, and (2) exhibit morphogenetic properties when grown on Matri-cell substrates. The cell lines were derived from normal (Madin-Darby canine kidney cells), embryonic (SK-NEP-1 and 293 cells), and cancerous (human renal adenocarcinoma cells) kidneys. TGFα messenger ribonucleic acid, evaluated by a nonradioactive in situ hybridization technique, was found to be expressed in all the cell lines. Large amounts of TGFα peptide were observed in all four cell lines, while EGFr was highly expressed only in cancerous ACHN and embryonic-tumor SK-NEP-1 cells. RhoA peptide was found in appreciable amounts in SK-NEP-1 and 293 cells (compared to the other two cell lines). The morphogenetic properties of the four cell lines were assessed, by culturing them on Matri-cell dishes: SK-NEP-1 cells alone were found to grow in three-dimensional structures forming clusters and worm-like cellular aggregates. This feature was displayed by SK-NEP-1 cells but not by the other three cell lines, and may be connected with the contemporary presence of RhoA, EGFr, and TGFα found in significant amounts only in the SK-NEP-1 cell line.
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Vol. 37 • No. 4