Aldose reductase (AR) is an NADPH-dependent aldo-keto reductase implicated in cellular osmoregulation and detoxification. Two distinct murine genes have been identified that are predicted to encode proteins with significant amino acid sequence identity with mouse AR: mouse vas deferens protein and fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-regulated-1 protein (FR-1). Here we report that the AR and FR-1 genes are differentially regulated in NIH 3T3 fibroblasts. FGF-1 stimulation of quiescent cells induces both AR and FR-1 mRNA levels, but the effect on FR-1 mRNA expression is significantly greater. FGF-1 treatment also increases FR-1 protein expression, as determined by Western-blot analysis using FR-1-specific polyclonal antiserum. Calf serum stimulation of quiescent cells increases AR mRNA expression but not FR-1 mRNA expression. Finally, when NIH 3T3 cells are grown in hypertonic medium, AR mRNA levels are significantly increased whereas FR-1 mRNA levels are only slightly up-regulated. These results indicate that the AR and FR-1 genes are differentially regulated in murine fibroblasts by two different growth-promoting agents and by hyperosmotic stress. Therefore these structurally related enzymes may have at least some distinct cellular functions; for example, although both AR and FR-1 activity may be important for the metabolic changes associated with cellular proliferation, AR may be the primary aldo-keto reductase involved in cellular osmoregulation.

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