Human glial fibrillary acidic protein: complementary DNA cloning, chromosome localization, and messenger RNA expression in human glioma cell lines of various phenotypes

Cancer Res. 1991 Mar 1;51(5):1553-60.


Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is a constituent of intermediate filaments of glial cells of the astrocyte lineage. We cloned a human GFAP complementary DNA, deduced the amino acid sequence, and established the chromosomal location (17q21) of the GFAP gene by Southern blot hybridization of somatic cell hybrids and by in situ hybridization. The authenticity of the complementary DNA was proven by expressing it in glioma cells lacking endogenous GFAP; after microinjection of the complementary DNA, such cells became positive for staining with GFAP antibodies. The levels of fibronectin (FN) and GFAP mRNA of ten human glioblastoma cell lines, determined by Northern blot hybridization of RNA, were related to other phenotypic characteristics [cell morphology and expression of the genes encoding platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptors]. A high expression of GFAP mRNA was found only in cells lacking fibronectin mRNA and protein. Glioma cells with a fibroblastic phenotype (bipolar, FN+/GFAP-) were found to express both types of PDGF receptors (alpha and beta). Relatively high levels of PDGF alpha-receptor mRNA, in the absence of beta-receptor expression, were found in cell lines that express GFAP and lack detectable levels of fibronectin mRNA. The findings are compatible with the idea that the genes encoding PDGF receptors in glioma cells are regulated in concert with other genes, the expression of which may reflect the developmental program of normal glia cell lineages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Cloning, Molecular*
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Fibronectins / genetics
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / genetics*
  • Glioma / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Phenotype
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Fibronectins
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • DNA
  • Receptors, Platelet-Derived Growth Factor