The establishment of hepatocyte cell surface polarity during fetal liver development

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Antibodies to six glycoproteins present in different domains of the hepatocyte plasma membrane were used to study the establishment of cell surface polarity during rat fetal liver development. The proteins were immunoprecipitated from fetal liver homogenates between 14 and 21 days of gestation and quantified by immunoblotting. Aminopeptidase N, CE 9, and HA 321, which reside in the apical, basolateral, and lateral plasma membrane in the adult hepatocyte, respectively, were present in high concentrations at 14 days of gestation and remained high until birth. In contrast, two apical proteins (HA 4 and dipeptidyl peptidase IV) and two basolateral proteins (ASGP receptor and EGF receptor) were first detected between 16 and 18 days of gestation and increased linearly until birth. HA 4 was the only molecule for which the fetal and adult forms differed, with the former having a faster mobility on SDS-PAGE, due to differences in N-linked oligosaccharides. With two exceptions, the localization of the molecules from earliest detection was restricted to the same domain as that in the adult. At 15 days of gestation, HA 321 and a small portion of aminopeptidase were detected on the basolateral membrane. By 21 days both molecules had assumed their adult localization pattern. Our results indicate that the biogenesis of cell surface polarity is an early event, implying that the mechanisms for sorting plasma membrane molecules are functional very early in development. Furthermore, the different patterns of appearance of the six molecules, irrespective of domain, indicate that the biochemical composition of the cell surface changes dramatically during fetal liver development. © 1987.

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