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1.  Epithelial Sodium Channels in Pulmonary Epithelial Progenitor and Stem Cells 
Regeneration of the epithelium of mammalian lungs is essential for restoring normal function following injury, and various cells and mechanisms contribute to this regeneration and repair. Club cells, bronchioalveolar stem cells (BASCs), and alveolar type II epithelial cells (ATII) are dominant stem/progenitor cells for maintaining epithelial turnover and repair. Epithelial Na+ channels (ENaC), a critical pathway for transapical salt and fluid transport, are expressed in lung epithelial progenitors, including club and ATII cells. Since ENaC activity and expression are development- and differentiation-dependent, apically located ENaC activity has therefore been used as a functional biomarker of lung injury repair. ENaC activity may be involved in the migration and differentiation of local and circulating stem/progenitor cells with diverse functions, eventually benefiting stem cells spreading to re-epithelialize injured lungs. This review summarizes the potential roles of ENaC expressed in native progenitor and stem cells in the development and regeneration of the respiratory epithelium.
doi:10.7150/ijbs.15747
PMCID: PMC4997059  PMID: 27570489
amiloride-inhibitable sodium channels; mesenchymal stem cells; proliferation; differentiation; pluripotent stem cells.
2.  Genes Regulating Epithelial Polarity Are Critical Suppressors of Esophageal Oncogenesis 
Journal of Cancer  2015;6(8):694-700.
Esophageal cancer is an aggressive disease featured by early lymphatic and hematogenous dissemination, and is the sixth leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. The proper formation of apicobasal polarity is essential for normal epithelium physiology and tissue homeostasis, while loss of polarity is a hallmark of cancer development including esophageal oncogenesis. In this review, we summarized the stages of esophageal cancer development associated with the loss or deregulation of epithelial cell apicobasal polarity. Loss of epithelial apicobasal polarity exerts an indispensable role in the initiation of esophageal oncogenesis, tumor progression, and the advancement of tumors from benign to malignant. In particular, we reviewed the involvement of several critical genes, including Lkb1, claudin-4, claudin-7, Par3, Lgl1, E-cadherin, and the Scnn1 gene family. Understanding the role of apicobasal regulators may lead to new paradigms for treatment of esophageal tumors, including improvement of prognostication, early diagnosis, and individually tailored therapeutic interventions in esophageal oncology.
doi:10.7150/jca.11709
PMCID: PMC4504104  PMID: 26185530
apicobasal polarity; esophageal adenocarcinoma; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; LKB1; LGL1; SCNN1
3.  8-(4-Chlorophenylthio)-Guanosine-3′,5′-Cyclic Monophosphate-Na Stimulates Human Alveolar Fluid Clearance by Releasing External Na+ Self-Inhibition of Epithelial Na+ Channels 
Salt absorption via alveolar epithelial Na+ channels (ENaC) is a critical step for maintaining an airspace free of flooding. Previously, we found that 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-guanosine-3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate-Na (CPT-cGMP) activated native and heterologous ENaC. To investigate the potential pharmacological relevance, we applied this compound intratracheally to human lungs and found that ex vivo alveolar fluid clearance was increased significantly. Furthermore, this compound eliminated self-inhibition in human lung H441 cells and in oocytes expressing human αβγ but not δβγ channels. To further elucidate this novel mechanism, we constructed mutants abolishing (βΔV348 and γH233R) or augmenting (αY458A and γM432G) self-inhibition. The mutants eliminating self-inhibition lost their responses to CPT-cGMP, whereas those enhancing self-inhibition facilitated the stimulatory effects of this compound. CPT-cGMP was unable to activate a high Po mutant (βS520C) and plasmin proteolytically cleaved channels. Our data suggest that elimination of self-inhibition of αβγ ENaC may be a novel mechanism for CPT-cGMP to stimulate salt reabsorption in human lungs.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2011-0004OC
PMCID: PMC3262684  PMID: 21562313
lung fluid reabsorption; amiloride-sensitive sodium channel; CPT-cGMP; ENaC self-inhibition
4.  Cpt-cAMP activates human epithelial sodium channels via relieving self-inhibition 
Biochimica et biophysica acta  2011;1808(7):1818-1826.
External Na+ self-inhibition is an intrinsic feature of epithelial sodium channels (ENaC). Cpt-cAMP regulates heterologous guinea pig but not rat αβγ ENaC in a ligand-gated manner. We hypothesized that cpt-cAMP may eliminate the self-inhibition of human ENaC thereby open channels. Regulation of self-inhibition by this compound in oocytes was analyzed using the two-electrode voltage clamp and Ussing chamber setups. External cpt-cAMP stimulated human but not rat and murine αβγ ENaC in a dose- and external Na+ concentration-dependent fashion. Intriguingly, cpt-cAMP activated human δβγ more potently than αβγ channels, suggesting that structural diversity in ectoloop between human α, δ, and those ENaC of other species determines the stimulating effects of cpt-cAMP. Cpt-cAMP increased the ratio of stationary and maximal currents. Mutants having abolished self-inhibition (βΔV348 and γH233R) almost completely eliminated cpt-cAMP mediated activation of ENaC. On the other hand, mutants both enhancing self-inhibition and elevating cpt-cAMP sensitivity increased the stimulating effects of the compound. This compound, however, could not activate already fully opened channels, e.g., degenerin mutation (αβS520Cγ) and the proteolytically cleaved ENaC by plasmin. Cpt-cAMP activated native ENaC to the same extent as that for heterologous ENaC in human lung epithelial cells. Our data demonstrate that cpt-cAMP, a broadly used PKA activator, stimulates human αβγ and δβγ ENaC channels by relieving self-inhibition.
doi:10.1016/j.bbamem.2011.03.004
PMCID: PMC3091966  PMID: 21419751

Results 1-4 (4)