Effect of cell density and growth factors on matrix GLA protein expression by normal rat kidney cells

M. Leonor Cancela, Bo Hu, Paul A. Price*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Scopus citations


The present studies demonstrate that the expression of the vitamin K-dependent matrix Gla protein (MGP) is critically dependent on cell density in culture. Subculture of confluent NRK cells to 1/30 of the confluent cell density causes a 50- to 100-fold decline in MCP expression per cell within two days. MGP expression subsequently increases with increasing cell density and eventually attains a level of expression per cell at five days post-confluence that is over 2,000-fold greater than was seen in the cells two days after the 1 to 30 subculture. These reversible, density-dependent changes in MGP expression are far larger than have been previously reported for other secreted proteins and suggest that the as yet unknown function of MGP requires its expression at high cell density but not at low. We have also observed that human epidermal growth factor (EGF) causes a 20-fold reduction in MGP expression in post-confluent non-dividing cultures and suggest that the suppression of MGP function at high density may be a prelude to cell migration or division in response to appropriate signals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-134
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 1997


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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