ShRNA-mediated gene silencing of AHR promotes the differentiation of P19 mouse embryonic carcinoma cells into cardiomyocytes

Chun Zhu, Yu-Lin Chen, Xue-Jie Wang, Xiao-Shan Hu, Zhang-Bin Yu, Shu-Ping Han
Molecular Medicine Reports 2012, 6 (3): 513-8
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor that is activated by environmental contaminants including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The AHR affects a variety of processes that are involved in cell growth and differentiation. In this study, we constructed a P19 embryonic carcinoma cell line with AHR gene silencing using the vector-based approach of short hairpin (sh)RNA interference that allows cells to differentiate into cardiac myocytes when treated with dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO). The expression levels of the cardiac development-specific GATA4 and Nkx2.5 genes were measured using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Our data showed that the expression levels of the GATA4 and Nkx2.5 genes were increased in the AHR-silenced P19 cells compared with the control groups. Four critical genes (ARNT, CYP1A1, GSK3β and β-catenin) expressed in the AHR and in the Wnt signaling pathway were also measured by qPCR. We found that the expression levels of ARNT, CYP1A1 and β-catenin were suppressed, whereas GSK3β expression was elevated in the AHR-silenced P19 cells. Therefore, it is possible that the silencing of AHR promotes the differentiation of P19 cells through the AHR and Wnt signal transduction pathway.

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