SAMe and HuR in Liver Physiology

Usefulness of Stem Cells in Hepatic Differentiation Research
  • Laura Gomez-SantosEmail author
  • Mercedes Vazquez-Chantada
  • Jose Maria Mato
  • Maria Luz Martinez-ChantarEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 826)


S-Adenosylmethionine, abbreviated as SAM, SAMe or AdoMet, is the principal methyl group donor in the mammalian cell and the first step metabolite of the methionine cycle, being synthesized by MAT (methionine adenosyltransferase) from methionine and ATP. About 60 years after its identification, SAMe is admitted as a key hepatic regulator whose level needs to be maintained within a specific range in order to avoid liver damage. Recently, in vitro and in vivo studies have demonstrated the regulatory role of SAMe in HGF (hepatocyte growth factor)-mediated hepatocyte proliferation through a mechanism that implicates the activation of the non-canonical LKB1/AMPK/eNOS cascade and HuR function. Regarding hepatic differentiation, cellular SAMe content varies depending on the status of the cell, being lower in immature than in adult hepatocytes. This finding suggests a SAMe regulatory effect also in this cellular process, which very recently was reported and related to HuR activity. Although in the last years this and other discoveries contributed to throw light into the tangle of regulatory mechanisms that govern this complex process, an overall understanding is still a challenge. For this purpose, the in vitro hepatic differentiation culture systems by using stem cells or fetal hepatoblasts are considered as valuable tools which, in combination with the methods used in current days to elucidate cell signaling pathways, surely will help to clear up this question.

Key words

S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) MAT (methionine adenosyltransferase) HuR Hepatocyte Liver Hepatocyte differentiation Hepatocyte proliferation Stem cells 



This study was supported by AT-1576 (to JMM and MLM–C), SAF2005-00855, HEPADIP-EULSHM-CT-205, and ETORTEK-2008 (to JMM and MLM–C); Program Ramón y Cajal del MEC and Fundación “La Caixa” (to MLM–C); and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Hepáticas y Digestivas is funded by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Metabolomics UnitCIC bioGUNE, Technology Park of BizkaiaBizkaiaBasque Country, Spain
  2. 2.CIC bioGUNE, Technology Park of BizkaiaBizkaiaBasque Country, Spain
  3. 3.Metabolomics UnitCICbioGUNEBizkaiaBasque Country, Spain

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