In primary cultured adult rat hepatocytes stimulated by epidermal growth factor and insulin, dramatic changes in the subcellular distribution of metallothionein were clarified by indirect immunofluorescence using antisera specific for this protein. Metallothionein was detected only in the cytoplasm of cultured hepatocytes in the G0 and G1 phases, but was concentrated in the cell nuclei in the early S phase. The strongest staining pattern in the nuclei was observed 12 h after stimulation. Subsequently, the intensity of metallothionein staining in the nuclei decreased. These results suggests that primary cultured hepatocytes are suitable for examining the relation between subcellular localization of metallothionein and cell growth.
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