Differential patterns of expression of three C/EBP isoforms, HNF-1, and HNF-4 after partial hepatectomy in rats

Exp Cell Res. 1993 Sep;208(1):248-56. doi: 10.1006/excr.1993.1244.


Regenerating liver provides a system for studying the mechanisms controlling regulated proliferation of differentiated hepatocytes. A set of transcription factors termed hepatocyte nuclear factors (HNF-1, -3, -4) and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) isoforms are known to regulate several genes predominantly expressed in the liver. To assess whether these factors might be involved in the hepatocyte proliferation program, we have studied the expression of the three C/EBP isoforms C/EBP alpha, C/EBP beta, and C/EBP delta and the two hepatocyte-enriched transcription factors, HNF-1 and HNF-4, in rat liver at various time points after partial hepatectomy and sham operations using transcriptional "run-on" assays and Northern blot and Western blot experiments. We report here that partial hepatectomy in rats leads to dramatic changes in the pattern of expression of some of these genes. The three C/EBP isoforms are differentially regulated in response to partial hepatectomy and are likely to play different roles in determining the proliferation/differentiation state of hepatocytes. In particular, C/EBP alpha expression is rapidly down-regulated, whereas C/EBP delta is induced. C/EBP beta expression is also increased, although an increase is also observed after sham operation. The drastic decrease in C/EBP alpha under these conditions of active DNA synthesis and rapid cell proliferation further supports the concept of a potential incompatibility between high C/EBP alpha protein levels and cell proliferation. The patterns of transcriptional rates of HNF-1 and HNF-4 during the different stages of the regenerative process are similar. However, HNF-1 steady-state mRNA and protein levels are significantly changed while HNF-4 remains virtually unaffected, indicating that post-transcriptional mechanisms are also involved in the regulation of HNF-1 gene expression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • Cell Cycle
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Hepatectomy
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-alpha
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-beta
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver Regeneration*
  • Male
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phosphoproteins*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-alpha
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4
  • Hnf1a protein, rat
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transcription Factors
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-beta