Monoclonal antibody to novel cell surface epitope on Hsc70 promotes morphogenesis of bile ducts in newborn rat liver
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- Mills, D.R., Haskell, M.D., Callanan, H.M. et al. Cell Stress and Chaperones (2010) 15: 39. doi:10.1007/s12192-009-0120-2
We previously described a cell surface reactive monoclonal antibody, MAb OC.10, which recognizes an epitope shared by rat fetal liver ductal cells, hepatic progenitor cells, mature cholangiocytes, and hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC). Here, intrasplenic injection of MAb OC.10 into newborn rats was shown by immunofluorescence microscopy to strongly label intrahepatic bile ducts. Furthermore, the in situ labeling of intrahepatic cholangiocytes by injecting MAb OC.10 increased the number of intraportal and intralobular bile ducts with well-defined lumens when compared to IgM-injected control animals. The antigen for MAb OC.10 was identified by mass spectrometry as Hsc70, a constitutively expressed heat shock protein belonging to the HSP70 family. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that MAb OC.10 reacted with recombinant bovine Hsc70 protein, with protein immunoprecipitated from rat bile duct epithelial (BDE) cell lysates with monoclonal anti-Hsc70 antibody, and with Hsc70-FLAG protein over-expressed in human 293T cells. In addition, Hsc70-specific small interfering RNA reduced the amount of OC.10 antigen expressed in nucleofected BDE cells. Consistent with the specificity of MAb OC.10 for Hsc70, heat shock did not induce OC.10 expression in BDE cells, a characteristic of Hsp70. Immunofluorescence with BDE cells further suggested that MAb OC.10 binds a novel cell surface epitope of Hsc70. This was in contrast to a commercially available monoclonal anti-Hsc70 antibody that showed strong cytosolic reactivity. These findings demonstrate that presentation of the OC.10 epitope differs between cytosolic and surface forms of Hsc70 and may suggest distinct differences in protein conformation or epitope availability determined in part by protein–protein or protein–lipid interactions. Phage display and pepscan analysis mapped the epitope for MAb OC.10 to the N-terminal 340–384 amino acids of the ATPase domain of rat Hsc70. These findings suggest that MAb OC.10 recognizes an epitope on rat Hsc70 when presented on the cell surface that promotes morphogenic maturation of bile ducts in newborn rat liver. Furthermore, since we have shown previously that the OC.10 antigen is expressed on HCC subpopulations with oval cell characteristics, our current results indicate that Hsc70 has the potential to be expressed on the surface of certain tumor cells.