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author:("ideal, Steven")
1.  Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 in Cigarette Smoke Exposure and Influenza A Virus Infection-Induced Lung Injury 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0123187.
Parenchymal lung inflammation and airway and alveolar epithelial cell apoptosis are associated with cigarette smoke exposure (CSE), which contributes to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Epidemiological studies indicate that people exposed to chronic cigarette smoke with or without COPD are more susceptible to influenza A virus (IAV) infection. We found increased p53, PAI-1 and apoptosis in AECs, with accumulation of macrophages and neutrophils in the lungs of patients with COPD. In Wild-type (WT) mice with passive CSE (PCSE), p53 and PAI-1 expression and apoptosis were increased in AECs as was lung inflammation, while those lacking p53 or PAI-1 resisted AEC apoptosis and lung inflammation. Further, inhibition of p53-mediated induction of PAI-1 by treatment of WT mice with caveolin-1 scaffolding domain peptide (CSP) reduced PCSE-induced lung inflammation and reversed PCSE-induced suppression of eosinophil-associated RNase1 (EAR1). Competitive inhibition of the p53-PAI-1 mRNA interaction by expressing p53-binding 3’UTR sequences of PAI-1 mRNA likewise suppressed CS-induced PAI-1 and AEC apoptosis and restored EAR1 expression. Consistent with PCSE-induced lung injury, IAV infection increased p53, PAI-1 and apoptosis in AECs in association with pulmonary inflammation. Lung inflammation induced by PCSE was worsened by subsequent exposure to IAV. Mice lacking PAI-1 that were exposed to IAV showed minimal viral burden based on M2 antigen and hemagglutination analyses, whereas transgenic mice that overexpress PAI-1 without PCSE showed increased M2 antigen and inflammation after IAV infection. These observations indicate that increased PAI-1 expression promotes AEC apoptosis and exacerbates lung inflammation induced by IAV following PCSE.
PMCID: PMC4416821  PMID: 25932922
2.  Mechanism of fibroblast inflammatory responses to Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase 
Microbiology  2014;160(Pt 3):547-555.
Receptor tyrosine kinases, including the epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR), are able to activate the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) via several adaptor proteins and protein kinases such as Raf. EGFR can be activated by a variety of extracellular stimuli including neutrophil elastase, but we are aware of no report as to whether Pseudomonas aeruginosa produced elastase (PE) could elicit such signalling through EGFR activation. We sought to test the inference that PE modulates inflammatory responses in human lung fibroblasts and that the process occurs by activation of the EGFR/MAPK pathways. We utilized IL-8 cytokine expression as a pathway-specific end point measure of the fibroblast inflammatory response to PE. Western blot analysis was performed to detect phosphorylation of EGFR and signal transduction intermediates. Northern blot, real-time PCR, and ELISA methods were utilized to determine cytokine gene expression levels. We found that PE induces phosphorylation of the EGFR and the extracellular signal-regulated proteins (ERK1/2) of the MAPK pathway, and nuclear translocation of NF-κB. Furthermore, enzymically active PE enhances IL-8 mRNA and protein secretion. Pretreatment of the cells with specific inhibitors of EGFR, MAPK kinase and NF-κB markedly attenuated the PE-induced signal proteins phosphorylation and IL-8 gene expression and protein secretion. Collectively, the data show that PE produced by Pseudomonas aeruginosa can modulate lung inflammation by exploiting the EGFR/ERK signalling cascades and enhancing IL-8 production in the lungs via NF-κB activation.
PMCID: PMC3949346  PMID: 24385476
3.  Correlation of Apical Fluid-Regulating Channel Proteins with Lung Function in Human COPD Lungs 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109725.
Links between epithelial ion channels and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) are emerging through animal model and in vitro studies. However, clinical correlations between fluid-regulating channel proteins and lung function in COPD remain to be elucidated. To quantitatively measure epithelial sodium channels (ENaC), cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR), and aquaporin 5 (AQP5) proteins in human COPD lungs and to analyze the correlation with declining lung function, quantitative western blots were used. Spearman tests were performed to identify correlations between channel proteins and lung function. The expression of α and β ENaC subunits was augmented and inversely associated with lung function. In contrast, both total and alveolar type I (ATI) and II (ATII)-specific CFTR proteins were reduced. The expression level of CFTR proteins was associated with FEV1 positively. Abundance of AQP5 proteins and extracellular superoxide dismutase (SOD3) was decreased and correlated with spirometry test results and gas exchange positively. Furthermore, these channel proteins were significantly associated with severity of disease. Our study demonstrates that expression of ENaC, AQP5, and CFTR proteins in human COPD lungs is quantitatively associated with lung function and severity of COPD. These apically located fluid-regulating channels may thereby serve as biomarkers and potent druggable targets of COPD.
PMCID: PMC4201481  PMID: 25329998
4.  Remarkable Stabilization of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 in a “Molecular Sandwich” Complex 
Biochemistry  2013;52(27):10.1021/bi400470s.
Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) levels are elevated in a number of life threatening conditions and often correlate with unfavorable outcomes. Spontaneous inactivation due to active to latent transition limits PAI-1 activity in vivo. While endogenous vitronectin (Vn) stabilizes PAI-1 by 1.5–2.0 fold, further stabilization occurs in a “Molecular Sandwich” Complex (MSC) where a ligand that restricts the exposed reactive center loop is bound to PAI-1/Vn. The effects of S195A two chain urokinase (tcuPA) and Vn on inactivation of wild type (wt) glycosylated (Gl-PAI-1), non-glycosylated (rPAI-1) and non- glycosylated Q123K PAI-1 (lacks Vn binding) were studied. S195A tcuPA decreased the rate constant (kL) for spontaneous inactivation at 37°C for rPAI-1, Q123K, and Gl-PAI-1 by 6.7, 3.4, and 7.8 fold, respectively, and with both S195A tcuPA and Vn by 66.7, 5.5, and 103.3 fold. Analysis of the temperature dependences of kL revealed a synergistic increase in the Gibbs free activation energy for spontaneous inactivation of wt Gl-PAI-1 and rPAI-1 in MSC from 99.8 and 96.1 to 111.3 and 107.0 kJ/mol, respectively, due to an increase in the activation enthalpy and a decrease in the activation entropy. Anti-PAI-1 mAbs competing with proteinase also stabilize PAI-1/Vn. The rate of inhibition of target proteinases by MSCs, with stoichiometry close to unity, was limited by the dissociation (k=10−4–10−3 s−1) of S195A tcuPA or mAb. The stabilization of PAI-1 in MSCs in vivo may potentiate uncontrolled thrombosis or extravascular fibrin deposition, suggesting a new paradigm for using PAI-1 inhibitors and novel potential targets for therapy.
PMCID: PMC3855604  PMID: 23734661
active PAI-1; vitronectin; S195A tcuPA; mAb; molecular sandwich; stabilization
5.  Protein Kinase D Is Increased and Activated in Lung Epithelial Cells and Macrophages in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e101983.
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a relentlessly progressive and usually fatal lung disease of unknown etiology for which no effective treatments currently exist. Hence, there is a profound need for the identification of novel drugable targets to develop more specific and efficacious therapeutic intervention in IPF. In this study, we performed immunohistochemical analyses to assess the cell type-specific expression and activation of protein kinase D (PKD) family kinases in normal and IPF lung tissue sections. We also analyzed PKD activation and function in human lung epithelial cells. We found that PKD family kinases (PKD1, PKD2 and PKD3) were increased and activated in the hyperplastic and regenerative alveolar epithelial cells lining remodeled fibrotic alveolar septa and/or fibroblast foci in IPF lungs compared with normal controls. We also found that PKD family kinases were increased and activated in alveolar macrophages, bronchiolar epithelium, and honeycomb cysts in IPF lungs. Interestingly, PKD1 was highly expressed and activated in the cilia of IPF bronchiolar epithelial cells, while PKD2 and PKD3 were expressed in the cell cytoplasm and nuclei. In contrast, PKD family kinases were not apparently increased and activated in IPF fibroblasts or myofibroblasts. We lastly found that PKD was predominantly activated by poly-L-arginine, lysophosphatidic acid and thrombin in human lung epithelial cells and that PKD promoted epithelial barrier dysfunction. These findings suggest that PKD may participate in the pathogenesis of IPF and may be a novel target for therapeutic intervention in this disease.
PMCID: PMC4084945  PMID: 25000413
6.  Endothelial Cell Protein C Receptor Opposes Mesothelioma Growth Driven by Tissue Factor 
Cancer research  2013;73(13):3963-3973.
The pro-coagulant protein Tissue Factor (TF, F3) is a powerful growth promoter in many tumors but its mechanism of action is not well understood. More generally, it is unknown whether hemostatic factors expressed on tumor cells influence TF-mediated effects on cancer progression. In this study, we investigated the influence of TF, endothelial cell protein C receptor (EPCR, PROCR) and protease activated receptor-1 (PAR1, F2R) on the growth of malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), using human MPM cells that lack or express TF, EPCR or PAR1 and an orthotopic nude mouse model of MPM. Intrapleural administration of MPM cells expressing TF and PAR1 but lacking EPCR and PAR2 (F2RL1) generated large tumors in the pleural cavity. Suppression of TF or PAR1 expression in these cells markedly reduced tumor growth. In contrast, TF overexpression in non-aggressive MPM cells that expressed EPCR and PAR1 with minimal levels of TF did not increase their limited tumorigenicity. More importantly, ectopic expression of EPCR in aggressive MPM cells attenuated their growth potential, whereas EPCR silencing in non-aggressive MPM cells engineered to overexpress TF increased their tumorigenicity. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed that EPCR expression in tumor cells reduced tumor cell proliferation and enhanced apoptosis. Overall, our results enlighten the mechanism by which TF promotes tumor growth through PAR1, and they show how EPCR can attenuate the growth of TF-expressing tumor cells.
PMCID: PMC3702650  PMID: 23539451
endothelial cell protein C receptor; mesothelioma; protease-activated receptor; tissue factor; tumor growth
7.  Intrapleural Adenoviral Delivery of Human Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor–1 Exacerbates Tetracycline-Induced Pleural Injury in Rabbits 
Elevated concentrations of plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 (PAI-1) are associated with pleural injury, but its effects on pleural organization remain unclear. A method of adenovirus-mediated delivery of genes of interest (expressed under a cytomegalovirus promoter) to rabbit pleura was developed and used with lacZ and human (h) PAI-1. Histology, β-galactosidase staining, Western blotting, enzymatic and immunohistochemical analyses of pleural fluids (PFs), lavages, and pleural mesothelial cells were used to evaluate the efficiency and effects of transduction. Transduction was selective and limited to the pleural mesothelial monolayer. The intrapleural expression of both genes was transient, with their peak expression at 4 to 5 days. On Day 5, hPAI-1 (40–80 and 200–400 nM of active and total hPAI-1 in lavages, respectively) caused no overt pleural injury, effusions, or fibrosis. The adenovirus-mediated delivery of hPAI-1 with subsequent tetracycline-induced pleural injury resulted in a significant exacerbation of the pleural fibrosis observed on Day 5 (P = 0.029 and P = 0.021 versus vehicle and adenoviral control samples, respectively). Intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy (IPFT) with plasminogen activators was effective in both animals overexpressing hPAI-1 and control animals with tetracycline injury alone. An increase in intrapleural active PAI-1 (from 10–15 nM in control animals to 20–40 nM in hPAI-1–overexpressing animals) resulted in the increased formation of PAI-1/plasminogen activator complexes in vivo. The decrease in intrapleural plasminogen-activating activity observed at 10 to 40 minutes after IPFT correlates linearly with the initial concentration of active PAI-1. Therefore, active PAI-1 in PFs affects the outcome of IPFT, and may be both a biomarker of pleural injury and a molecular target for its treatment.
PMCID: PMC3547083  PMID: 23002099
pleural injury; plasminogen activator inhibitor–1; intrapleural fibrinolytic therapy
8.  Tissue Factor Pathway Inhibitor Attenuates the Progression of Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma in Nude Mice 
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a rare cancer that is refractory to current treatments. It is characterized by a robust deposition of transitional fibrin that is in part promoted by tumor cells. MPM cells express tissue factor (TF) and the tissue factor pathway inhibitor (TFPI), but their contribution to the pathogenesis of MPM has been unclear. We found that REN MPM cells fail to express TFPI. Based on the tumor growth–promoting properties of TF, we hypothesized that the stable transfection of TFPI into REN MPM cells would decrease their aggressiveness. We tested our hypothesis using in vitro, in vivo, and ex vivo analyses. TFPI knock-in decreased the proliferation, invasion, and TF activity of REN cells in vitro. REN TFPI knock-in cells, empty vector, and naive control cells were next injected intrapleurally into nude mice. The expression of TFPI significantly decreased tissue invasion, inflammation, and the deposition of fibrin and collagen associated with tumor tissue, pleural effusions, and tumor burden. In ex vivo analyses, REN cells were cultured from harvested tumors. The overexpression of TFPI was maintained in cells propagated from TFPI knock-in tumors, and attenuated the activation of Factor X and the invasiveness of tumor cells. These analyses demonstrate that TFPI reduces the aggressiveness of MPM in vitro and in vivo, and that its effect involves the inhibition of TF procoagulant activity. These observations suggest that the interactions of TF and TFPI represent a novel therapeutic target in the treatment of MPM.
PMCID: PMC3297168  PMID: 21852688
malignant pleural mesothelioma; tissue factor pathway inhibitor; proliferation; invasion; tumorigenesis
9.  Lipoprotein Receptor–Related Protein 1 Regulates Collagen 1 Expression, Proteolysis, and Migration in Human Pleural Mesothelial Cells 
The low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 1 (LRP-1) binds and can internalize a diverse group of ligands, including members of the fibrinolytic pathway, urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA), and its receptor, uPAR. In this study, we characterized the role of LRP-1 in uPAR processing, collagen synthesis, proteolysis, and migration in pleural mesothelial cells (PMCs). When PMCs were treated with the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-1β, LRP-1 significantly decreased at the mRNA and protein levels (70 and 90%, respectively; P < 0.05). Consequently, uPA-mediated uPAR internalization was reduced by 80% in the presence of TNF-α or IL-1β (P < 0.05). In parallel studies, LRP-1 neutralization with receptor-associated protein (RAP) significantly reduced uPA-dependent uPAR internalization and increased uPAR stability in PMCs. LRP-1–deficient cells demonstrated increased uPAR t1/2 versus LRP-1–expressing PMCs. uPA enzymatic activity was also increased in LRP-1–deficient and neutralized cells, and RAP potentiated uPA-dependent migration in PMCs. Collagen expression in PMCs was also induced by uPA, and the effect was potentiated in RAP-treated cells. These studies indicate that TNF-α and IL-1β regulate LRP-1 in PMCs and that LRP-1 thereby contributes to a range of pathophysiologically relevant responses of these cells.
PMCID: PMC3297170  PMID: 22298529
pleural mesothelial cells; uPAR; LRP-1; internalization; half-life
Biochemistry  2011;51(1):205-213.
Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) is expressed by lung epithelial cells and regulates fibrin turnover and epithelial cell viability. PMA, LPS, and TNF-alpha, as well as uPA itself, induce uPA expression in lung epithelial cells. PMA, LPS, and TNF-alpha induce uPA expression through increased synthesis as well as stabilization of uPA mRNA, while uPA increases its own expression solely through uPA mRNA stabilization. The mechanism by which lung epithelial cells regulate uPA expression at the level of mRNA stability is unclear. To elucidate this process, we sought to characterize protein-uPA mRNA interactions that regulate uPA expression. Regulation of uPA at the level of mRNA stability involves the interaction of a ~40 kDa cytoplasmic-nuclear shuttling protein with a 66 nt uPA mRNA 3′UTR sequence. We purified the uPA mRNA 3′UTR binding protein and identified it as ribonucleotide reductase M2 (RRM2). We expressed recombinant RRM2 and confirmed its interaction with a specific 66 nt uPA 3′UTR sequence. Immunoprecipitation of cell lysates with anti-RRM2 antibody and RT-PCR for uPA mRNA confirmed that RRM2 binds to uPA mRNA. Treatment of Beas2B cells with uPA or LPS attenuated RRM2-endogenous uPA mRNA interactions, while overexpression of RRM2 inhibited uPA protein and mRNA expression through destabilization of uPA mRNA. LPS exposure of lung epithelial cells translocates RRM2 from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in a time-dependent manner leading to stabilization of uPA mRNA. This newly recognized pathway could influence uPA expression and a broad range of uPA-dependent functions in lung epithelial cells in the context of lung inflammation and repair.
PMCID: PMC3254797  PMID: 22166006
Urokinase; ribonucleotide reductase M2; Urokinase-type plasminogen activator; Acute lung injury
11.  Urokinase Plasminogen Activator Regulates Pulmonary Arterial Contractility and Vascular Permeability in Mice 
The concentration of urokinase plasminogen activator (uPA) is elevated in pathological settings such as acute lung injury, where pulmonary arterial contractility and permeability are disrupted. uPA limits the accretion of fibrin after injury. Here we investigated whether uPA also regulates pulmonary arterial contractility and permeability. Contractility was measured using isolated pulmonary arterial rings. Pulmonary blood flow was measured in vivo by Doppler and pulmonary vascular permeability, according to the extravasation of Evans blue. Our data show that uPA regulates the in vitro pulmonary arterial contractility induced by phenylephrine in a dose-dependent manner through two receptor-dependent pathways, and regulates vascular contractility and permeability in vivo. Physiological concentrations of uPA (≤1 nM) stimulate the contractility of pulmonary arterial rings induced by phenylephrine through the low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein receptor. The procontractile effect of uPA is independent of its catalytic activity. At pathophysiological concentrations, uPA (20 nM) inhibits contractility and increases vascular permeability. The inhibition of vascular contractility and increase of vascular permeability is mediated through a two-step process that involves docking to N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor–1 (NMDA-R1) on pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells, and requires catalytic activity. Peptides that specifically inhibit the docking of uPA to NMDA-R, or the uPA variant with a mutated receptor docking site, abolished both the effects of uPA on vascular contractility and permeability, without affecting its catalytic activity. These data show that uPA, at concentrations found under pathological conditions, reduces pulmonary arterial contractility and increases permeability though the activation of NMDA-R1. The selective inhibition of NMDAR-1 activation by uPA can be accomplished without a loss of fibrinolytic activity.
PMCID: PMC3262683  PMID: 21617202
urokinase; NMDA-R; lung; permeability
12.  Wood Bark Smoke Induces Lung and Pleural Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 and Stabilizes its mRNA in Porcine Lung Cells 
Shock (Augusta, Ga.)  2011;36(2):128-137.
While aberrant fibrinolysis and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) are implicated in ALI, the role of this serpin in the pathogenesis of wood bark smoke (WBS) induced acute lung injury (SIALI) and its regulation in resident lung cells after exposure to smoke is unclear.
A total of 22 mechanically ventilated pigs were included in this study. Immunohistochemical analyses were used to assess fibrin and PAI-1 in the lungs of pigs with SIALI in situ. PAI-1 was measured in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids by Western blotting. Induction of PAI-1 was determined at the protein and mRNA levels by Western and PCR analyses in primary porcine alveolar type II (ATII) cells, fibroblasts and pleural mesothelial cells (PMCs). PAI-1 mRNA stability was determined by transcription chase studies. Gel shift analyses were used to characterize the mechanism regulating PAI-1 mRNA stability.
SIALI induced PAI-1, with prominent extravascular fibrin deposition in large and small airways as well as alveolar and subpleural compartments. In PMCs, lung fibroblasts and ATIIs, PAI-1 mRNA was stabilized by WBS extract and contributed to induction of PAI-1. The mechanism involves dissociation of a novel 6-Phospho-D-Gluconate-NADP oxidoreductase -like PAI-1 mRNA binding protein from PAI-1 mRNA.
Exposure to WBS induces prominent airway and mesothelial expression of PAI-1, associated with florid distribution of fibrin in SIALI in vivo. WBS components induce PAI-1 in vitro in part by stabilization of PAI-1 mRNA, a newly recognized pathway that may promote extravascular fibrin deposition and lung dysfunction in SIALI.
PMCID: PMC3139766  PMID: 21478814
Acute lung injury; fibrin; fibrinolysis; serpin; smoke inhalation
13.  Deletion of FoxN1 in the Thymic Medullary Epithelium Reduces Peripheral T Cell Responses to Infection and Mimics Changes of Aging 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e34681.
Aging increases susceptibility to infection, in part because thymic involution culminates in reduced naïve T-lymphocyte output. Thymic epithelial cells (TECs) are critical to ensure normal maturation of thymocytes and production of peripheral T cells. The forkhead-class transcription factor, encoded by FoxN1, regulates development, differentiation, and function of TECs, both in the prenatal and postnatal thymus. We recently showed that expression of FoxN1, by keratin 14 (K14)-expressing epithelial cells is essential for maintenance of thymic medullary architecture, and deletion of FoxN1 in K14 promoter-driven TECs inhibited development of mature TECs and reduced the number of total thymocytes. These findings are reminiscent of changes observed during normal thymic aging. In the current report, we compared the effects of K14-driven FoxN1 deletion on peripheral T cell function in response to influenza virus infection with those associated with normal aging in a mouse model. FoxN1-deleted mice had reduced numbers of peripheral CD62L+CD44− naïve T-cells. In addition, during influenza infection, these animals had reduced antigen-specific CD8+ T-cell and IgG responses to influenza virus, combined with increased lung injury, weight loss and mortality. These findings paralleled those observed in aged wild type mice, providing the first evidence that K14-mediated FoxN1 deletion causes changes in T-cell function that mimic those in aging during an immune response to challenge with an infectious agent.
PMCID: PMC3326029  PMID: 22514652
14.  LOX-1 Deletion Improves Neutrophil Responses, Enhances Bacterial Clearance, and Reduces Lung Injury in a Murine Polymicrobial Sepsis Model ▿ 
Infection and Immunity  2011;79(7):2865-2870.
Inflammatory tissue injury and immunosuppression are the major causes of death in sepsis. Novel therapeutic targets that can prevent excessive inflammation and improve immune responses during sepsis could be critical for treatment of this devastating disease. LOX-1 (lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1), a membrane protein expressed in endothelial cells, has been known to mediate vascular inflammation. In the present study, we demonstrated that LOX-1 deletion markedly improved the survival rate in a murine model of polymicrobial sepsis. Wild-type (LOX-1+/+) and LOX-1 knockout (LOX-1−/−) mice were subjected to cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) to induce sepsis. LOX-1 deletion significantly reduced systemic inflammation and inflammatory lung injury during sepsis, together with decreased production of proinflammatory cytokines and reduced lung edema formation. Furthermore, LOX-1 deletion improved host immune responses after the induction of sepsis, as indicated by enhanced bacterial clearance. Interestingly, we were able to demonstrate that LOX-1 is expressed in neutrophils. LOX-1 deletion prevented neutrophil overreaction and increased neutrophil recruitment to infection sites after sepsis induction, contributing at least partly to increased immune responses in LOX-1 knockout mice. Our study results indicate that LOX-1 is an important mediator of inflammation and neutrophil dysfunction in sepsis.
PMCID: PMC3191957  PMID: 21576343
15.  Regulation of Airway Contractility by Plasminogen Activators through N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Receptor–1 
Reactive airway disease is mediated by smooth muscle contraction initiated through several agonist-dependent pathways. Activation of type 1 N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDA-R1s) by plasminogen activators (PAs) has been linked to control of vascular tone, but their effect on airway smooth muscle contractility has not previously been studied to our knowledge. We observed that NMDA-R1s are expressed by human airway smooth muscle cells and constitutively inhibit the contraction of isolated rat tracheal rings in response to acetylcholine (Ach). Both tissue-type PA (tPA) and urokinase-type PA (uPA) bind to NMDA-R1 and reverse this effect, thereby enhancing Ach-induced tracheal contractility. Tracheal contractility initiated by Ach is reduced in rings isolated from tPA−/− and uPA−/− mice compared with their wild-type counterparts. The procontractile effect of uPA or tPA was mimicked and augmented by the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, l-NAME. uPA and tPA further enhanced the contractility of rings denuded of epithelium, an effect that was inhibited by the NMDA-R antagonist, MK-801. Binding of PAs to NMDA-R1 and the subsequent activation of the receptor were inhibited by PA inhibitor type 1, by a PA inhibitor type 1–derived hexapeptide that recognizes the tPA and uPA docking domains, as well as by specific mutations within the docking site of tPA. These studies identify involvement of PAs and NMDA-R1 in airway contractility, and define new loci that could lead to the development of novel interventions for reactive airway disease.
PMCID: PMC2993090  PMID: 20097831
tissue plasminogen activator; urokinase NMDA receptor; lungs
16.  Post-Transcriptional Regulation of Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor Type–1 Expression in Human Pleural Mesothelial Cells 
The plasminogen activator inhibitor type–1 (PAI-1) effectively blocks the activities of free and receptor-bound urokinase-type plasminogen activator. Incubation of cultured human pleural mesothelial (Met5A) cells with TGF-β increased PAI-1 protein. TGF-β, phorbol myristate acetate, and the translation inhibitor cycloheximide induced PAI-1 mRNA and slowed its degradation, suggesting that PAI-1 mRNA could be regulated by interaction of a PAI-1 binding protein (PAI-1 mRNABp) with PAI-1 mRNA. We found that an approximately 60 kD cytoplasmic PAI-1 mRNABp is detectable in cytoplasmic extracts of MeT5A human pleural mesothelial and malignant mesothelioma cells. The PAI-1 mRNABp specifically binds to a 33-nt sequence in the 3′ untranslated region of PAI-1 mRNA. Insertion of this 33-nt sequence destabilizes otherwise stable β-globin mRNA, indicating that the binding sequence accelerates decay of endogenous PAI-1 mRNA. Competitive inhibition by overexpression of the 33-nt binding sequence in MeT5A cells reduced PAI-1 mRNA decay and increased PAI-1 protein and mRNA expression, indicating that the PAI-1 mRNABp destabilizes PAI-1 mRNA by its interaction with the endogenous 33-nt binding sequence. Incubation of Met5A cells with TGF-β attenuated the interaction of the PAI-1 mRNABp with the 33-nt sequence. By conventional and affinity purification, we isolated the PAI-1 mRNABp and confirmed its identity as 6-phospho-d-gluconate-NADP oxidoreductase, which specifically interacts with the full-length and the 33-nt sequence of the PAI-1 mRNA 3′ untranslated region. This newly recognized pathway could influence expression of PAI-1 by mesothelial or mesothelioma cells at the level of mRNA stability in the context of pleural inflammation or malignancy.
PMCID: PMC2933551  PMID: 19855086
PAI-1; mesothelial cells; post-transcriptional regulation
17.  Induction of Tissue Factor by Urokinase in Lung Epithelial Cells and in the Lungs 
Rationale: Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) regulates extracellular proteolysis in lung injury and repair. Although alveolar expression of uPA increases, procoagulant activity predominates.
Objectives: This study was designed to investigate whether uPA alters the expression of tissue factor (TF), the major initiator of the coagulation cascade, in lung epithelial cells (ECs).
Methods: Bronchial, primary airway ECs and C57B6 wild-type, uPA-deficient (uPA−/−) mice were exposed to phosphate-buffered saline, uPA, or LPS. Immunohistochemistry, protein, cellular, and molecular techniques were used to assess TF expression and activity.
Measurements and Main Results: uPA enhanced TF mRNA and protein expression, and TF-dependent coagulation in lung ECs. uPA-induced expression of TF involves both increased synthesis and enhanced stabilization of TF mRNA. uPA catalytic activity had little effect on induction of TF. By contrast, deletion of the uPA receptor binding growth factor domain from uPA markedly attenuated the induction of TF, suggesting that uPA receptor binding is sufficient for TF induction. Lung tissues of uPA-deficient mice expressed less TF protein and mRNA compared with wild-type mice. In addition, intratracheal instillation of mouse uPA increased TF mRNA and protein expression and accelerated coagulation in lung tissues. uPA−/− mice exposed to LPS failed to induce TF.
Conclusions: uPA increased TF expression and TF-dependent coagulation in the lungs of mice. We hypothesize that uPA-mediated induction of TF occurs in lung ECs to promote increased fibrin deposition in the airways during acute lung injury.
PMCID: PMC2894411  PMID: 20194819
urokinase; tissue factor; lung epithelial cells; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
18.  The Urokinase Receptor Supports Tumorigenesis of Human Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma Cells 
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a lethal neoplasm for which current therapy is unsatisfactory. The urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) is associated with increased virulence of many solid neoplasms, but its role in the pathogenesis of MPM is currently unclear. We found that REN human pleural MPM cells expressed 4- to 10-fold more uPAR than MS-1 or M9K MPM cells or MeT5A human pleural mesothelial cells. In a new orthotopic murine model of MPM, we found that the kinetics of REN cell tumorigenesis is accelerated versus MS-1 or M9K cells, and that REN instillates generated larger tumors expressing increased uPAR, were more invasive, and caused earlier mortality. While REN, MS-1, and M9K tumors were all associated with prominent extravascular fibrin deposition, excised REN tumor homogenates were characterized by markedly increased uPAR at both the mRNA and protein levels. REN cells exhibited increased thymidine incorporation, which was attenuated in uPAR-silenced cells (P < 0.01). REN cells traversed three-dimensional fibrin gels while MS-1, M9K, and MeT5A cells did not. uPAR siRNA or uPAR blocking antibodies decreased REN cell migration and invasion, while uPA and fetal bovine serum augmented the effects. Transfection of relatively low uPAR expressing MS-1 cells with uPAR cDNA increased proliferation and migration in vitro and tumor formation in vivo. These observations link overexpression of uPAR to the pathogenesis of MPM, demonstrate that this receptor contributes to accelerated tumor growth in part through interactions with uPA, and suggest that uPAR may be a promising target for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC2891497  PMID: 19635932
malignant pleural mesothelioma; urokinase receptor; proliferation; invasion; tumorigenesis
19.  Update on Acute Lung Injury and Critical Care Medicine 2009 
PMCID: PMC3269230  PMID: 20460547
20.  Neutrophil α-Defensins Cause Lung Injury by Disrupting the Capillary–Epithelial Barrier 
Rationale: The involvement of neutrophil activation in the sentinel, potentially reversible, events in the pathogenesis of acute lung injury (ALI) is only partially understood. α-Defensins are the most abundant proteins secreted by activated human neutrophils, but their contribution to ALI in mouse models is hindered by their absence from murine neutrophils and the inability to study their effects in isolation in other species.
Objectives: To study the role of α-defensins in the pathogenesis of ALI in a clinically relevant setting using mice transgenic for polymorphonuclear leukocyte expression of α-defensins.
Methods: Transgenic mice expressing polymorphonuclear leukocyte α-defensins were generated. ALI was induced by acid aspiration. Pulmonary vascular permeability was studied in vivo using labeled dextran and fibrin deposition. The role of the low-density lipoprotein–related receptor (LRP) in permeability was examined.
Measurements and Main Results: Acid aspiration induced neutrophil migration and release of α-defensins into lung parenchyma and airways. ALI was more severe in α-defensin–expressing mice than in wild-type mice, as determined by inspection, influx of neutrophils into the interstitial space and airways, histological evidence of epithelial injury, interstitial edema, extravascular fibrin deposition, impaired oxygenation, and reduced survival. Within 4 hours of insult, α-defensin–expressing mice showed greater disruption of capillary–epithelial barrier function and ALI that was attenuated by systemic or intratracheal administration of specific inhibitors of the LRP.
Conclusions: α-Defensins mediate ALI through LRP-mediated loss of capillary–epithelial barrier function, suggesting a potential new approach to intervention.
PMCID: PMC2862305  PMID: 20093642
acute lung injury; capillary–epithelial barrier; α-defensins; low-density lipoprotein–related receptor; receptor-associated protein
21.  Expression and Regulation of Epithelial Na+ Channels by Nucleotides in Pleural Mesothelial Cells 
Pleural effusions are commonly clinical disorders, resulting from the imbalance between pleural fluid turnover and reabsorption. The mechanisms underlying pleural fluid clearance across the mesothelium remain to be elucidated. We hypothesized that epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC) is expressed and forms the molecular basis of the amiloride-sensitive resistance in human mesothelial cells. Our RT-PCR results showed that three ENaC subunits, namely, α, β, γ, and two δ ENaC subunits, are expressed in human primary pleural mesothelial cells, a human mesothelioma cell line (M9K), and mouse pleural tissue. In addition, Western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy studies revealed that α, β, γ, and δ ENaC subunits are expressed in primary human mesothelial cells and M9K cells at the protein level. An amiloride-inhibitable short-circuit current was detected in M9K monolayers and mouse pleural tissues when mounted in Ussing chambers. Whole-cell patch clamp recordings showed an ENaC-like channel with an amiloride concentration producing 50% inhibition of 12 μM in M9K cells. This cation channel has a high affinity for extracellular Na+ ions (Km: 53 mM). The ion selectivity of this channel to cations follows the same order as ENaC: Li+ > Na+ > K+. The unitary Li+ conductance was 15 pS in on-cell patches. Four ENaC subunits form a functional Na+ channel when coinjected into Xenopus oocytes. Furthermore, we found that both forskolin and cGMP increased the short-circuit currents in mouse pleural tissues. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the ENaC channels are biochemically and functionally expressed in human pleural mesothelial cells, and can be up-regulated by cyclic AMP and cyclic GMP.
PMCID: PMC2677435  PMID: 18927349
M9K mesothelioma cells; Ussing chamber; protein kinase A; protein kinase G; human primary mesothelial cells
22.  Post-Transcriptional Regulation of Urokinase-type Plasminogen Activator Receptor Expression in Lipopolysaccharide-induced Acute Lung Injury 
Rationale: Urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) receptor (uPAR) is required for the recruitment of neutrophils in response to infection. uPA induces its own expression in lung epithelial cells, which involves its interaction with cell surface uPAR. Regulation of uPAR expression is therefore crucial for uPA-mediated signaling in infectious acute lung injury (ALI).
Objectives: To determine the role of uPA in uPAR expression during ALI caused by sepsis.
Methods: We used Western blot, Northern blot, Northwestern assay, and immunohistochemistry. Phosphate-buffered saline– and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated wild-type and uPA−/− mice were used.
Measurements and Main Results: Biological activities of uPA, including proteolysis, cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, and differentiation, are dependent on its association with uPAR. Bacterial endotoxin (LPS) is a major cause of pulmonary dysfunction and infection-associated mortality. The present study shows that LPS induces uPAR expression both in vitro and in vivo, and that the mechanism involves post-transcriptional stabilization of uPAR mRNA by reciprocal interaction of phosphoglycerate kinase (PGK) and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C (hnRNPC) with uPAR mRNA coding region and 3′ untranslated region determinants, respectively. The process involves tyrosine phosphorylation of PGK and hnRNPC. uPA−/− mice failed to induce uPAR expression after LPS treatment. In these mice, LPS treatment failed to alter the binding of PGK and hnRNPC protein with uPAR mRNA due to lack of tyrosine phosphorylation.
Conclusions: Our study shows that induction of LPS-mediated uPAR expression is mediated through tyrosine phosphorylation of PGK and hnRNPC. This involves expression of uPA as an obligate intermediary.
PMCID: PMC2643078  PMID: 19029002
LPS; urokinase-type plasminogen activator; urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor; tyrosine phosphorylation
23.  Regulation of Urokinase Receptor Expression by p53: Novel Role in Stabilization of uPAR mRNA▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(16):5607-5618.
We found that p53-deficient (p53−/−) lung carcinoma (H1299) cells express robust levels of cell surface uPAR and uPAR mRNA. Expression of p53 protein in p53−/− cells suppressed basal and urokinase (uPA)-induced cell surface uPAR protein and increased uPAR mRNA degradation. Inhibition of p53 by RNA silencing in Beas2B human airway epithelial cells conversely increased basal as well as uPA-mediated uPAR expression and stabilized uPAR mRNA. Purified p53 protein specifically binds to the uPAR mRNA 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR), and endogenous uPAR mRNA associates with p53. The p53 binding region involves a 37-nucleotide uPAR 3′UTR sequence, and insertion of the p53 binding sequence into β-globin mRNA destabilized β-globin mRNA. Inhibition of p53 expression in these cells reverses decay of chimeric β-globin-uPAR mRNA. These observations demonstrate a novel regulatory role for p53 as a uPAR mRNA binding protein that down-regulates uPAR expression, destabilizes uPAR mRNA, and thereby contributes to the viability of human airway epithelial or lung carcinoma cells.
PMCID: PMC1952137  PMID: 17548471

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