Characterisation of Crandell-Rees Feline Kidney (CRFK) cells as mesenchymal in phenotype

Lawson, J S and Syme, H M and Wheeler-Jones, C P D and Elliott, J (2019) Characterisation of Crandell-Rees Feline Kidney (CRFK) cells as mesenchymal in phenotype. RESEARCH IN VETERINARY SCIENCE, 127. pp. 99-102.

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The Crandell-Rees Feline Kidney Cell (CRFK) is an immortalised cell line derived from the feline kidney that is utilised for the growth of certain vaccinal viruses. Confusion exists as to whether CRFK are epithelial or mesenchymal in phenotype. The aim of this study was to characterise CRFK cells via immunofluorescence, enzyme cytochemistry, western blotting, RT-qPCR for S100A4 and comparison to primary feline proximal tubular epithelial cells (FPTEC) and feline cortical fibroblasts (FCF). CRFK cells were of fusiform morphology and appeared similar to FCF. CRFK expressed the mesenchymal intermediate filament (IF) protein vimentin together with two cell adhesion molecules associated with feline fibroblasts (CD29 and CD44), and lacked expression of the epithelial IF cytokeratin, myogenic IF desmin and endothelial marker von Willebrand factor (vWF). In addition, CRFK did not demonstrate brush border enzyme activity typical of FPTEC. S100A4 gene expression, implicated in both neoplastic transformation and epithelial to mesenchymal transition, was highly upregulated in CRFK in comparison to the primary feline renal cells. CRFK appear phenotypically similar to fibroblasts, rather than tubular epithelial cells, and may have undergone neoplastic transformation or epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition after extensive passaging. This finding may have potential implications for future research utilising this cell line.

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