Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-15 (15)

Clipboard (0)

Select a Filter Below

Year of Publication
Document Types
1.  Duplicated Leptin Receptors in Two Species of Eel Bring New Insights into the Evolution of the Leptin System in Vertebrates 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126008.
Since its discovery in mammals as a key-hormone in reproduction and metabolism, leptin has been identified in an increasing number of tetrapods and teleosts. Tetrapods possess only one leptin gene, while most teleosts possess two leptin genes, as a result of the teleost third whole genome duplication event (3R). Leptin acts through a specific receptor (LEPR). In the European and Japanese eels, we identified two leptin genes, and for the first time in vertebrates, two LEPR genes. Synteny analyses indicated that eel LEPRa and LEPRb result from teleost 3R. LEPRb seems to have been lost in the teleost lineage shortly after the elopomorph divergence. Quantitative PCRs revealed a wide distribution of leptins and LEPRs in the European eel, including tissues involved in metabolism and reproduction. Noticeably, leptin1 was expressed in fat tissue, while leptin2 in the liver, reflecting subfunctionalization. Four-month fasting had no impact on the expression of leptins and LEPRs in control European eels. This might be related to the remarkable adaptation of silver eel metabolism to long-term fasting throughout the reproductive oceanic migration. In contrast, sexual maturation induced differential increases in the expression of leptins and LEPRs in the BPG-liver axis. Leptin2 was strikingly upregulated in the liver, the central organ of the reproductive metabolic challenge in teleosts. LEPRs were differentially regulated during sexual maturation, which may have contributed to the conservation of the duplicated LEPRs in this species. This suggests an ancient and positive role of the leptin system in the vertebrate reproductive function. This study brings new insights on the evolutionary history of the leptin system in vertebrates. Among extant vertebrates, the eel represents a unique case of duplicated leptins and leptin receptors as a result of 3R.
PMCID: PMC4422726  PMID: 25946034
2.  A Comprehensive Expression Analysis of Mucins in Appendiceal Carcinoma in a Multicenter Study: MUC3 Is a Novel Prognostic Factor 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e115613.
Mucins are implicated in survival in various cancers, but there have been no report addressed on survival in appendiceal carcinoma, an uncommon disease with different clinical and pathological features from those of other colon cancers. We aimed to investigate the clinical implications of expression of mucins in appendiceal carcinoma.
Expression profiles of MUC1, MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC5AC, MUC6, MUC16 and MUC17 in cancer tissue were examined by immunohistochemistry in 108 cases of surgically resected appendiceal carcinoma.
The following relationships of mucins with clinicopathologic factors were identified: MUC1 with positive lymphatic invasion (p = 0.036); MUC2 with histological type (mucinous carcinoma, p<0.001), superficial invasion depth (p = 0.007), negative venous invasion (p = 0.003), and curative resection (p = 0.019); MUC3 with non-curative resection (p = 0.017); MUC5AC with histological type (mucinous carcinoma, p = 0.002), negative lymphatic invasion (p = 0.021), and negative venous invasion (p = 0.022); and MUC16 with positive lymph node metastasis (p = 0.035), positive venous invasion (p<0.05), and non-curative resection (p = 0.035). A poor prognosis was related to positive lymph node metastasis (p = 0.04), positive lymphatic invasion (p = 0.02), positive venous invasion (p<0.001), non-curative resection (p<0.001), and positive expression of MUC3 (p = 0.004). In multivariate analysis, positive venous invasion (HR: 6.93, 95% CI: 1.93–24.96, p = 0.003), non-curative resection (HR: 10.19, 95% CI: 3.05–34.07, p<0.001) and positive MUC3 expression (HR: 3.37, 95% CI: 1.13–10.03, p = 0.03) were identified as significant independent prognostic factors in patients with appendiceal carcinoma.
Expression of MUC3 in appendiceal carcinoma is an independent factor for poor prognosis and a useful predictor of outcome in patients with appendiceal carcinoma after surgery.
PMCID: PMC4281150  PMID: 25551773
3.  Muc5b Is Required for Airway Defense 
Nature  2013;505(7483):412-416.
Respiratory surfaces are exposed to billions of particulates and pathogens daily. A protective mucus barrier traps and eliminates them via mucociliary clearance (MCC)1,2. However, excessive mucus contributes to transient respiratory infections and to the pathogenesis of numerous respiratory diseases1. MUC5AC and MUC5B are evolutionarily conserved genes that encode structurally related mucin glycoproteins, the principal macromolecules in airway mucus1,3. Genetic variants are linked to diverse lung diseases4-6, but specific roles for MUC5AC and MUC5B in MCC, and the lasting effects of their inhibition, are unknown. Here we show that Muc5b (but not Muc5ac) is required for MCC, for controlling infections in the airways and middle ear, and for maintaining immune homeostasis in the lungs. Muc5b deficiency caused materials to accumulate in upper and lower airways. This defect led to chronic infection by multiple bacterial species, including Staphylococcus aureus, and to inflammation that failed to resolve normally7. Apoptotic macrophages accumulated, phagocytosis was impaired, and IL-23 production was reduced inMuc5b−/− mice. By contrast, in Muc5b transgenic (Tg) mice, macrophage functions improved. Existing dogma defines mucous phenotypes in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as driven by increased MUC5AC, with MUC5B levels either unaffected or increased in expectorated sputum1,8. However, in many patients, MUC5B production at airway surfaces decreases by as much as 90%9-11. By distinguishing a specific role for Muc5b in MCC, and by determining its impact on bacterial infections and inflammation in mice, our results provide a refined framework for designing targeted therapies to control mucin secretion and restore MCC.
PMCID: PMC4001806  PMID: 24317696
4.  Reassessment of the importance of mucins in determining sputum properties in cystic fibrosis 
Journal of Cystic Fibrosis  2014;13(3):260-266.
There is conflicting evidence about the importance of airway mucins (MUC5AC and MUC5B) in determining physical properties of sputum in cystic fibrosis (CF). We studied the effects of endogenous degradation of mucins on CF sputum elasticity and apparent mucin concentrations.
Elastic shear moduli (G′) and mucin concentrations in sputum of 12 CF patients were measured before and after incubation at 37 °C for 60 min.
G′ fell from a median of 5.98 to 4.70 Pa (p = 0.01). There were significant falls in MUC5AC (8.2 to 5.2 μg/ml, p = 0.02) and MUC5B (17.3 to 12.5 μg/ml, p = 0.02) over the same period, and associated decrease in molecular weight and size.
Sputum is not inert and degradation reduces apparent mucin concentrations and sputum elasticity. Even if care is taken to process samples rapidly, sputum may therefore differ from secretions retained in airways. Previous studies may have underestimated the role of mucins in CF sputum.
PMCID: PMC3994278  PMID: 24332705
Cystic fibrosis; Mucin; Proteolysis; Lung inflammation
5.  Pathobiological Implications of Mucin (MUC) Expression in the Outcome of Small Bowel Cancer 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e86111.
Mucins have been associated with survival in various cancer patients, but there have been no studies of mucins in small bowel carcinoma (SBC). In this study, we investigated the relationships between mucin expression and clinicopathologic factors in 60 SBC cases, in which expression profiles of MUC1, MUC2, MUC3, MUC4, MUC5AC, MUC6 and MUC16 in cancer and normal tissues were examined by immunohistochemistry. MUC1, MUC5AC and MUC16 expression was increased in SBC lesions compared to the normal epithelium, and expression of these mucins was related to clinicopathologic factors, as follows: MUC1 [tumor location (p = 0.019), depth (p = 0.017) and curability (p = 0.007)], MUC5AC [tumor location (p = 0.063) and lymph node metastasis (p = 0.059)], and MUC16 [venous invasion (p = 0.016) and curability (p = 0.016)]. Analysis of 58 cases with survival data revealed five factors associated with a poor prognosis: poorly-differentiated or neuroendocrine histological type (p<0.001), lymph node metastasis (p<0.001), lymphatic invasion (p = 0.026), venous invasion (p<0.001) and curative resection (p<0.001), in addition to expression of MUC1 (p = 0.042), MUC5AC (p = 0.007) and MUC16 (p<0.001). In subsequent multivariate analysis with curability as the covariate, lymph node metastasis, venous invasion, and MUC5AC and/or MUC16 expression were significantly related to the prognosis. Multivariate analysis in curative cases (n = 45) showed that SBC with MUC5AC and/or MUC16 expression had a significantly independent high hazard risk after adjusting for the effects of venous invasion (hazard ratio: 5.6, 95% confidence interval: 1.8–17). In conclusion, the study shows that a MUC5AC-positive and/or MUC16-positive status is useful as a predictor of a poor outcome in patients with SBC.
PMCID: PMC3982950  PMID: 24722639
6.  A secretory cell type develops alongside multiciliated cells, ionocytes and goblet cells, and provides a protective, anti-infective function in the frog embryonic mucociliary epidermis 
Development (Cambridge, England)  2014;141(7):1514-1525.
The larval epidermis of Xenopus is a bilayered epithelium, which is an excellent model system for the study of the development and function of mucosal and mucociliary epithelia. Goblet cells develop in the outer layer while multiciliated cells and ionocytes sequentially intercalate from the inner to the outer layer. Here, we identify and characterise a fourth cell type, the small secretory cell (SSC). We show that the development of these cells is controlled by the transcription factor Foxa1 and that they intercalate into the outer layer of the epidermis relatively late, at the same time as embryonic hatching. Ultrastructural and molecular characterisation shows that these cells have an abundance of large apical secretory vesicles, which contain highly glycosylated material, positive for binding of the lectin, peanut agglutinin, and an antibody to the carbohydrate epitope, HNK-1. By specifically depleting SSCs, we show that these cells are crucial for protecting the embryo against bacterial infection. Mass spectrometry studies show that SSCs secrete a glycoprotein similar to Otogelin, which may form the structural component of a mucus-like protective layer, over the surface of the embryo, and several potential antimicrobial substances. Our study completes the characterisation of all the epidermal cell types in the early tadpole epidermis and reinforces the suitability of this system for the in vivo study of complex epithelia, including investigation of innate immune defences.
PMCID: PMC3957375  PMID: 24598166
FoxA1; Infection; Mucins; Mucociliary; Otogelin; Xenopus epidermis
7.  Looking for the bird Kiss: evolutionary scenario in sauropsids 
The neuropeptide Kiss and its receptor KissR are key-actors in the brain control of reproduction in mammals, where they are responsible for the stimulation of the activity of GnRH neurones. Investigation in other vertebrates revealed up to 3 Kiss and 4 KissR paralogs, originating from the two rounds of whole genome duplication in early vertebrates. In contrast, the absence of Kiss and KissR has been suggested in birds, as no homologs of these genes could be found in current genomic databases. This study aims at addressing the question of the existence, from an evolutionary perspective, of the Kisspeptin system in birds. It provides the first large-scale investigation of the Kisspeptin system in the sauropsid lineage, including ophidian, chelonian, crocodilian, and avian lineages.
Sauropsid Kiss and KissR genes were predicted from multiple genome and transcriptome databases by TBLASTN. Phylogenetic and syntenic analyses were performed to classify predicted sauropsid Kiss and KissR genes and to re-construct the evolutionary scenarios of both gene families across the sauropsid radiation.
Genome search, phylogenetic and synteny analyses, demonstrated the presence of two Kiss genes (Kiss1 and Kiss2 types) and of two KissR genes (KissR1 and KissR4 types) in the sauropsid lineage. These four genes, also present in the mammalian lineage, would have been inherited from their common amniote ancestor. In contrast, synteny analyses supported that the other Kiss and KissR paralogs are missing in sauropsids as in mammals, indicating their absence in the amniote lineage. Among sauropsids, in the avian lineage, we demonstrated the existence of a Kiss2-like gene in three bird genomes. The divergence of these avian Kiss2-like sequences from those of other vertebrates, as well as their absence in the genomes of some other birds, revealed the processes of Kiss2 gene degeneration and loss in the avian lineage.
These findings contribute to trace back the evolutionary history of the Kisspeptin system in amniotes and sauropsids, and provide the first molecular evidence of the existence and fate of a Kiss gene in birds.
PMCID: PMC4015844  PMID: 24552453
Kisspeptin; Kiss receptor; Phylogeny; Synteny; Amniotes; Sauropsids; Birds
8.  MUC5AC and inflammatory mediators associated with respiratory outcomes in the British 1946 birth cohort 
Respirology (Carlton, Vic.)  2013;18(6):1003-1010.
Background and objective: Dysregulation of respiratory mucins, MUC5AC in particular, has been implicated in respiratory disease and MUC5AC expression is up-regulated in response to environmental challenges and inflammatory mediators. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of genetic variation on susceptibility to common respiratory conditions.
Methods: The association of MUC5AC and the closely linked genes MUC2 and MUC5B with respiratory outcomes was tested in the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, a longitudinal birth cohort of men and women born in 1946. Also examined were the functional variants of the genes encoding inflammatory mediators, IL13, IL1B, IL1RN, TNFA and ERBB1, for which there is a likely influence on MUC5AC expression and were explored potential gene-gene interactions with these inflammatory mediators.
Results: Statistically significant associations between the 3'ter MUC5AC simple nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) rs1132440 and various non-independent respiratory outcomes (bronchitis, wheeze, asthma, hay fever) were reported while the adjacent loci show slight (but largely non-statistically significant) differences, presumably reflective of linkage disequilibrium (allelic association) across the region. A novel association between bronchitis and a non-synonymous functional ERBB1 SNP, rs2227983 (aka epidermal growth factor receptor:R497K, R521K) is also reported and evidence presented of interaction between MUC5AC and ERBB1 and between MUC5AC and IL1RN with respect to bronchitis. The ERBB1 result suggests a clear mechanism for a biological interaction in which the allelic variants of epidermal growth factor receptor differentially affect mucin expression.
Conclusions: The MUC5AC association and the interactions with inflammatory mediators suggest that genetically determined differences in MUC5AC expression alter susceptibility to respiratory disease.
This longitudinal cohort study shows occurrence of the common respiratory conditions bronchitis, wheeze, asthma and hay fever to be associated with genetic variation in a mucin gene, MUC5AC. Functional variation in the epidermal growth factor receptor (epidermal growth factor receptor encoded by ERBB1) is also associated with bronchitis and modulates the MUC5AC effect.
PMCID: PMC3784974  PMID: 23551418
airway epithelium; asthma; genetics; inflammation; respiratory function test
9.  Multiple Kisspeptin Receptors in Early Osteichthyans Provide New Insights into the Evolution of This Receptor Family 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e48931.
Deorphanization of GPR54 receptor a decade ago led to the characterization of the kisspeptin receptor (Kissr) in mammals and the discovery of its major role in the brain control of reproduction. While a single gene encodes for Kissr in eutherian mammals including human, other vertebrates present a variable number of Kissr genes, from none in birds, one or two in teleosts, to three in an amphibian, xenopus. In order to get more insight into the evolution of Kissr gene family, we investigated the presence of Kissr in osteichthyans of key-phylogenetical positions: the coelacanth, a representative of early sarcopterygians, the spotted gar, a non-teleost actinopterygian, and the European eel, a member of an early group of teleosts (elopomorphs). We report the occurrence of three Kissr for the first time in a teleost, the eel. As measured by quantitative RT-PCR, the three eel Kissr were differentially expressed in the brain-pituitary-gonadal axis, and differentially regulated in experimentally matured eels, as compared to prepubertal controls. Subfunctionalisation, as shown by these differences in tissue distribution and regulation, may have represented significant evolutionary constraints for the conservation of multiple Kissr paralogs in this species. Furthermore, we identified four Kissr in both coelacanth and spotted gar genomes, providing the first evidence for the presence of four Kissr in vertebrates. Phylogenetic and syntenic analyses supported the existence of four Kissr paralogs in osteichthyans and allowed to propose a clarified nomenclature of Kissr (Kissr-1 to -4) based on these paralogs. Syntenic analysis suggested that the four Kissr paralogs arose through the two rounds of whole genome duplication (1R and 2R) in early vertebrates, followed by multiple gene loss events in the actinopterygian and sarcopterygian lineages. Due to gene loss there was no impact of the teleost-specific whole genome duplication (3R) on the number of Kissr paralogs in current teleosts.
PMCID: PMC3502363  PMID: 23185286
10.  Expression and secretion of Aspergillus fumigatus proteases are regulated in response to different protein substrates 
Fungal Biology  2012;116(9):1003-1012.
The ubiquitous filamentous fungus Aspergillus fumigatus secretes a number of allergens with protease activity and has been linked to a variety of allergic conditions such as Severe Asthma with Fungal Sensitization (SAFS) and Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis (ABPA). However, it is unclear which allergen proteases are being secreted during fungal invasion and whether the local biological environment regulates their expression. Understanding the dynamic expression of allergen proteases during growth of A. fumigatus may lead to further characterisation of the pathogenesis of these disorders as well as improved standardisation in the commercial production of these allergens. Secretion of proteases during germination and early growth of A. fumigatus was investigated in response to various complex protein sources (pig lung homogenate, mucin or casein). Protease inhibitor studies demonstrated that A. fumigatus (AF293 strain) secretes predominately serine proteases during growth in pig lung based medium and mainly metalloproteases during growth in casein based medium but suppressed protease secretion in unmodified Vogel's minimal medium and secreted both types in mucin based medium. Analysis of gene transcription and protein identification by mass spectrometry showed that the matrix metalloprotease, Mep/Asp f 5 and the serine protease, Alp1/Asp f 13, were upregulated and secreted during growth in pig lung medium, whereas Alp1 was predominately expressed and secreted in mucin based medium. In casein medium, the matrix metalloprotease, Lap1, was also upregulated and secreted in addition to Mep and Alp1. These findings suggest that A. fumigatus is able to detect different complex proteins available as substrates in its environment and regulate protease secretion accordingly. There is a requirement for the standardisation of A. fumigatus allergen extracts used both in clinical diagnosis of A. fumigatus allergy and in research studies.
► Aspergillus fumigatus produces allergens with protease activity. ► Growth on protein based substrates induces the secretion of proteases. ► Mainly serine proteases secreted in response pig lung homogenate or mucin media. ► Predominately MMP secreted in response to casein media. ► Aspergillus fumigatus can sense and respond to changes in growth environment.
PMCID: PMC3605576  PMID: 22954343
Allergen; Culture; Fungal; Growth; Proteases; Secretion
11.  Comparative Evolutionary Histories of Kisspeptins and Kisspeptin Receptors in Vertebrates Reveal Both Parallel and Divergent Features 
During the past decade, the kisspeptin system has been identified in various vertebrates, leading to the discovery of multiple genes encoding both peptides (Kiss) and receptors (Kissr). The investigation of recently published genomes from species of phylogenetic interest, such as a chondrichthyan, the elephant shark, an early sarcopterygian, the coelacanth, a non-teleost actinopterygian, the spotted gar, and an early teleost, the European eel, allowed us to get new insights into the molecular diversity and evolution of both Kiss and Kissr families. We identified four Kissr in the spotted gar and coelacanth genomes, providing the first evidence of four Kissr genes in vertebrates. We also found three Kiss in the coelacanth and elephant shark genomes revealing two new species, in addition to Xenopus, presenting three Kiss genes. Considering the increasing diversity of kisspeptin system, phylogenetic, and synteny analyses enabled us to clarify both Kiss and Kissr classifications. We also could trace back the evolution of both gene families from the early steps of vertebrate history. Four Kissr and four Kiss paralogs may have arisen via the two whole genome duplication rounds (1R and 2R) in early vertebrates. This would have been followed by multiple independent Kiss and Kissr gene losses in the sarcopterygian and actinopterygian lineages. In particular, no impact of the teleost-specific 3R could be recorded on the numbers of teleost Kissr or Kiss paralogs. The origin of their diversity via 1R and 2R, as well as the subsequent occurrence of multiple gene losses, represent common features of the evolutionary histories of Kiss and Kissr families in vertebrates. In contrast, comparisons also revealed un-matching numbers of Kiss and Kissr genes in some species, as well as a large variability of Kiss/Kissr couples according to species. These discrepancies support independent features of the Kiss and Kissr evolutionary histories across vertebrate radiation.
PMCID: PMC3530029  PMID: 23272003
kisspeptin; kisspeptin receptor; phylogeny; synteny; evolutionary history; spotted gar; coelacanth; European eel
12.  Muc5b Is the Major Polymeric Mucin in Mucus from Thoroughbred Horses With and Without Airway Mucus Accumulation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19678.
Mucus accumulation is a feature of inflammatory airway disease in the horse and has been associated with reduced performance in racehorses. In this study, we have analysed the two major airways gel-forming mucins Muc5b and Muc5ac in respect of their site of synthesis, their biochemical properties, and their amounts in mucus from healthy horses and from horses with signs of airway mucus accumulation. Polyclonal antisera directed against equine Muc5b and Muc5ac were raised and characterised. Immunohistochemical staining of normal equine trachea showed that Muc5ac and Muc5b are produced by cells in the submucosal glands, as well as surface epithelial goblet cells. Western blotting after agarose gel electrophoresis of airway mucus from healthy horses, and horses with mucus accumulation, was used to determine the amounts of these two mucins in tracheal wash samples. The results showed that in healthy horses Muc5b was the predominant mucin with small amounts of Muc5ac. The amounts of Muc5b and Muc5ac were both dramatically increased in samples collected from horses with high mucus scores as determined visually at the time of endoscopy and that this increase also correlated with increase number of bacteria present in the sample. The change in amount of Muc5b and Muc5ac indicates that Muc5b remains the most abundant mucin in mucus. In summary, we have developed mucin specific polyclonal antibodies, which have allowed us to show that there is a significant increase in Muc5b and Muc5ac in mucus accumulated in equine airways and these increases correlated with the numbers of bacteria.
PMCID: PMC3094342  PMID: 21602926
13.  Ex Vivo Sputum Analysis Reveals Impairment of Protease-dependent Mucus Degradation by Plasma Proteins in Acute Asthma 
Rationale: Airway mucus plugs, composed of mucin glycoproteins mixed with plasma proteins, are an important cause of airway obstruction in acute severe asthma, and they are poorly treated with current therapies.
Objectives: To investigate mechanisms of airway mucus clearance in health and in acute severe asthma.
Methods: We collected airway mucus from patients with asthma and nonasthmatic control subjects, using sputum induction or tracheal aspiration. We used rheological methods complemented by centrifugation-based mucin size profiling and immunoblotting to characterize the physical properties of the mucus gel, the size profiles of mucins, and the degradation products of albumin in airway mucus.
Measurements and Main Results: Repeated ex vivo measures of size and entanglement of mucin polymers in airway mucus from nonasthmatic control subjects showed that the mucus gel is normally degraded by proteases and that albumin inhibits this degradation. In airway mucus collected from patients with asthma at various time points during acute asthma exacerbation, protease-driven mucus degradation was inhibited at the height of exacerbation but was restored during recovery. In immunoblots of human serum albumin digested by neutrophil elastase and in immunoblots of airway mucus, we found that albumin was a substrate of neutrophil elastase and that products of albumin degradation were abundant in airway mucus during acute asthma exacerbation.
Conclusions: Rheological methods complemented by centrifugation-based mucin size profiling of airway mucins in health and acute asthma reveal that mucin degradation is inhibited in acute asthma, and that an excess of plasma proteins present in acute asthma inhibits the degradation of mucins in a protease-dependent manner. These findings identify a novel mechanism whereby plasma exudation may impair airway mucus clearance.
PMCID: PMC2724713  PMID: 19423716
airway mucus; rheology; neutrophil elastase; plasma; asthma exacerbation
14.  MUC5B Is the Major Mucin in the Gel Phase of Sputum in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Overproduction of mucus is a contributory factor in the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The polymeric mucins are major macromolecules in the secretion. Therefore, we hypothesized that the polymeric mucin composition or properties may be different in the sputum from individuals with COPD and smokers without airflow obstruction.
Objectives: To determine the major polymeric mucins in COPD sputum and whether these are different in the sputum from individuals with COPD compared with that from smokers without airflow obstruction.
Methods: The polymeric mucin composition of sputum from patients with COPD and smokers without airflow obstruction was analyzed by Western blotting analysis. The tissue localization of the mucins was determined by immunohistochemistry, and their size distribution was analyzed by rate–zonal centrifugation.
Measurements and Main Results: MUC5AC and MUC5B were the major mucins. MUC5AC was the predominant mucin in the smoker group, whereas MUC5B was more abundant from the patients with COPD, with a significant difference in the ratio of MUC5B to MUC5AC (P = 0.004); this ratio was correlated with FEV1 in the COPD group (r = 0.63; P = 0.01). The lower-charged glycosylated form of MUC5B was more predominant in COPD (P = 0.012). No significant associations were observed with respect to sex, age, or pack-year history. In both groups, MUC5AC was produced by surface epithelial cells and MUC5B by submucosal gland cells. Finally, there was a shift toward smaller mucins in the COPD group.
Conclusions: Our data indicate that there are differences in mucin amounts and properties between smokers with and without COPD. Further studies are needed to examine how this may impact disease progression.
PMCID: PMC2643221  PMID: 18776153
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; mucus; mucin; pathophysiology
15.  Proopiomelanocortin (POMC), the ACTH/melanocortin precursor, is secreted by human epidermal keratinocytes and melanocytes and stimulates melanogenesis 
Proopiomelanocortin (POMC) can be processed to ACTH and melanocortin peptides. However, processing is incomplete in some tissues, leading to POMC precursor release from cells. This study examined POMC processing in human skin and the effect of POMC on the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC-1R) and melanocyte regulation. POMC was secreted by both human epidermal keratinocytes (from 5 healthy donors) and matched epidermal melanocytes in culture. Much lower levels of α-MSH were secreted and only by the keratinocytes. Neither cell type released ACTH. Cell extracts contained significantly more ACTH than POMC, and α-MSH was detected only in keratinocytes. Nevertheless, the POMC processing components, prohormone convertases 1, 2 and regulatory protein 7B2, were detected in melanocytes and keratinocytes. In contrast, hair follicle melanocytes secreted both POMC and α-MSH, and this was enhanced in response to corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) acting primarily through the CRH receptor 1. In cells stably transfected with the MC-1R, POMC stimulated cAMP, albeit with a lower potency than ACTH, α-MSH, and β-MSH. POMC also increased melanogenesis and dendricity in human pigment cells. This release of POMC from skin cells and its functional activity at the MC-1R highlight the importance of POMC processing as a key regulatory event in the skin.—Rousseau, K., Kauser, S., Pritchard, L. E., Warhurst, A., Oliver, R. L., Slominski, A., Wei, E. T., Thody, A. J., Tobin, D. J., White, A. Proopiomelanocortin (POMC), the ACTH/melanocortin precursor, is secreted by human epidermal keratinocytes and melanocytes and stimulates melanogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2253185  PMID: 17317724
α-MSH; hair follicle melanocytes; CRH receptors

Results 1-15 (15)