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A systematic analysis of 40 random genes in cultured vascular smooth muscle subtypes reveals a heterogeneity of gene expression and identifies the tight junction gene zonula occludens 2 as a marker of epithelioid "pup" smooth muscle cells and a participant in carotid neointimal formation.

Authors: Adams, LD  Lemire, JM  Schwartz, SM 
Citation: Adams LD, etal., Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 1999 Nov;19(11):2600-8.
Pubmed: (View Article at PubMed) PMID:10559001

An accumulation of evidence suggests that vascular smooth muscle is composed of cell subpopulations with distinct patterns of gene expression. Much of this evidence has come from serendipitous discoveries of genes marking phenotypically distinct aortic cultures derived from 12-day-old and 3-month-old rats. To identify more systematic differences, we isolated 40 genes at random from libraries of these 2 cultures and examined message expression patterns. To determine consistency of differential expression, we measured mRNA levels in 4 sets of cultures in 6 phenotypically distinct aortic cell clones and in balloon injured rat carotid arteries to determine the relevance of these differences in vitro to in vivo biology. The following 5 consistently differentially expressed genes were identified in vitro: zonula occludens 2 (ZO-2); peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPARdelta); secreted protein, acidic and rich in cysteine (SPARC); alpha1(I)collagen; and A2, an uncharacterized gene. We examined these 5 clones during carotid artery injury and an inconsistently differentially expressed clone Krox-24 because, as an early response transcription factor, it could be involved in the injury response. PPARdelta, A2, and Krox-24 mRNAs were upregulated during the day after injury. ZO-2 and alpha1(I)collagen messages were modulated for up to a month, whereas SPARC message showed no consistent change. An analysis of ZO-2 and other tight junction genes indicates that tight junctions may play a role in smooth muscle biology. These data suggest that a systematic analysis of these libraries is likely to identify a very large number of differentially expressed genes. ZO-2 is particularly intriguing both because of this tight junction gene's pattern of prolonged over-expression after injury and because of its potential role in determining the distinctive epithelioid phenotype of smooth muscle cells identified in rat and other species.


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CRRD Object Information
CRRD ID: 631940
Created: 2003-08-21
Species: All species
Last Modified: 2004-05-25
Status: ACTIVE


RGD is funded by grant HL64541 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute on behalf of the NIH.