Gene expression profiling of Caco-2 BBe cells suggests a role for specific signaling pathways during intestinal differentiation

James C. Fleet, Liyong Wang, Olga Vitek, Bruce A. Craig, Howard J. Edenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


We examined the pattern of gene expression resulting from spontaneous differentiation of Caco-2 BBe cells to gain insight into the molecular changes necessary for enterocyte differentiation. RNA was prepared from cells harvested at three cell stages: proliferating (50% confluent, 2 days in culture), postproliferative nondifferentiated (8 days), and differentiated (15 days). Gene expression profiles were determined using Affymetrix Human Genome U95A GeneChips. Differentially expressed genes were identified following statistical analysis (i.e., ANOVA, bootstrapping adjustments to P values, false detection rate criterion). We identified 1,150 unique genes as differentially expressed; expression of 48.6% fell and 46% increased from 2 to 15 days, while 5.4% had expression that either peaked or dipped at 8 days. Genes expressed during differentiation included several small-intestine-specific genes involved in nutrient transport/metabolism, e.g., DCT1, hephaestin, folate receptor 1, sucrase-isomaltase, and apolipoproteins CI, CIII, B100, H, and M, indicating that this colonic adenocarcinoma cell line has a hybrid colonocyte/enterocyte phenotype. Patterns of gene expression based upon functional classification suggest a role for cell-cell/cell-matrix interactions, suppression of Wnt signaling, and activation of TGFβ and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathways during enterocyte differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-68
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiological Genomics
StatePublished - Jul 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Microarray
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase
  • Transforming growth factor β
  • Wnt

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics


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