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1.  p62 Sequestosome 1/Light Chain 3b Complex Confers Cytoprotection on Lung Epithelial Cells after Hyperoxia 
Lung epithelial cell death is a prominent feature of hyperoxic lung injury, and has been considered a very important underlying mechanism of acute lung injury (ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Here we report on a novel mechanism involved in epithelial cytoprotection and homeostasis after oxidative stress. p62 (sequestosome 1; SQSTM1) is a ubiquitously expressed cellular protein. It interacts with ubiquitinated proteins and autophagic marker light chain 3b (LC3b), thus mediating the degradation of selective targets. In this study, we explored the role of p62 in mitochondria-mediated cell death after hyperoxia. Lung alveolar epithelial cells demonstrate abundant p62 expression, and p62 concentrations are up-regulated by oxidative stress at both the protein and mRNA levels. The p62/LC3b complex interacts with Fas and truncated BID (tBID) physically. These interactions abruptly diminish after hyperoxia. The deletion of p62 robustly increases tBID and cleaved caspase-3, implying an antiapoptotic effect. This antiapoptotic effect of p62 is further confirmed by measuring caspase activities, cleaved poly ADP ribose polymerase, and cell viability. The deletion of the p62 PBI domain or the ubiquitin-associated domain both lead to elevated tBID, cleaved caspase-3, and significantly more cell death after hyperoxia. Moreover, p62 traffics in an opposite direction with LC3b after hyperoxia, leading to the dissociation of the p62/Cav-1/LC3b/BID complex. Subsequently, the LC3b-mediated lysosomal degradation of tBID is eliminated. Taken together, our data suggest that the p62/LC3b complex regulates lung alveolar epithelial cell homeostasis and cytoprotection after hyperoxia.
PMCID: PMC3653608  PMID: 23333919
p62/SQSTM1; hyperoxia; tBid; LC3b; apoptosis
2.  Regulation and Functional Significance of Autophagy in Respiratory Cell Biology and Disease 
Autophagy is a homeostatic process common to all eukaryotic cells that serves to degrade intracellular components. Among three classes of autophagy, macroautophagy is best understood, and is the subject of this Review. The function of autophagy is multifaceted, and includes removal of long-lived proteins and damaged or unneeded organelles, recycling of intracellular components for nutrients, and defense against pathogens. This process has been extensively studied in yeast, and understanding of its functional significance in human disease is also increasing. This Review explores the basic machinery and regulation of autophagy in mammalian systems, methods employed to measure autophagic activity, and then focuses on recent discoveries about the functional significance of autophagy in respiratory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, acute lung injury, and lymphangioleiomyomatosis.
PMCID: PMC3547078  PMID: 22984088
autophagy; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis; epithelial cells; fibroblasts
3.  Hyperoxia-Induced LC3B Interacts with the Fas Apoptotic Pathway in Epithelial Cell Death 
Epithelial cell death plays a critical role in hyperoxia-induced lung injury. We investigated the involvement of the autophagic marker microtubule-associated protein-1 light chain-3B (LC3B) in epithelial cell apoptosis after hyperoxia. Prolonged hyperoxia (>95% O2), which causes characteristic lung injury in mice, activated morphological and biochemical markers of autophagy. Hyperoxia induced the time-dependent expression and conversion of LC3B-I to LC3B-II in mouse lung in vivo and in cultured epithelial cells (Beas-2B, human bronchial epithelial cells) in vitro. Hyperoxia increased autophagosome formation in Beas-2B cells, as evidenced by electron microscopy and increased GFP-LC3 puncta. The augmented LC3B level after hyperoxia was transcriptionally regulated and dependent in part on the c-Jun N-terminal kinase pathway. We hypothesized that LC3B plays a regulatory role in hyperoxia-induced epithelial apoptosis. LC3B siRNA promoted hyperoxia-induced cell death in epithelial cells, whereas overexpression of LC3B conferred cytoprotection after hyperoxia. The autophagic protein LC3B cross-regulated the Fas apoptotic pathway by physically interacting with the components of death-inducing signaling complex. This interaction was mediated by caveolin-1 tyrosine 14, which is a known target of phosphorylation induced by hyperoxia. Taken together, hyperoxia-induced LC3B activation regulates the Fas apoptotic pathway and thus confers cytoprotection in lung epithelial cells. The interaction of LC3B and Fas pathways requires cav-1.
PMCID: PMC3359946  PMID: 22095627
apoptosis; autophagy; hyperoxia; lung injury; caveolin-1
4.  Heme Oxygenase-1/Carbon Monoxide 
Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), a ubiquitous inducible stress-response protein, serves a major metabolic function in heme turnover. HO activity cleaves heme to form biliverdin-IXα, carbon monoxide (CO), and iron. Genetic experiments have revealed a central role for HO-1 in tissue homeostasis, protection against oxidative stress, and in the pathogenesis of disease. Four decades of research have witnessed not only progress in elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation and function of this illustrious enzyme, but also have opened remarkable translational applications for HO-1 and its reaction products. CO, once regarded as a metabolic waste, can act as an endogenous mediator of cellular signaling and vascular function. Exogenous application of CO by inhalation or pharmacologic delivery can confer cytoprotection in preclinical models of lung/vascular injury and disease, based on anti-apoptotic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative properties. The bile pigments, biliverdin and bilirubin, end products of heme degradation, have also shown potential as therapeutics in vascular disease based on anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activities. Further translational and clinical trials research will unveil whether the HO-1 system or any of its reaction products can be successfully applied as molecular medicine in human disease.
PMCID: PMC2742746  PMID: 19617398
carbon monoxide; bilirubin; heme oxygenase-1; lung injury
5.  Carbon Monoxide Modulates α–Smooth Muscle Actin and Small Proline Rich-1a Expression in Fibrosis 
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a biologically active molecule produced in the body by the stress-inducible enzyme, heme oxygenase. We have previously shown that CO suppresses fibrosis in a murine bleomycin model. To investigate the mechanisms by which CO opposes fibrogenesis, we performed gene expression profiling of fibroblasts treated with transforming growth factor-β1 and CO. The most highly differentially expressed categories of genes included those related to muscular system development and the small proline-rich family of proteins. We confirmed in vitro, and in an in vivo bleomycin model of lung fibrosis, that CO suppresses α–smooth muscle actin expression and enhances small proline-rich protein-1a expression. We further show that these effects of CO depend upon signaling via the extracellular signal–regulated kinase pathway. Our results demonstrate novel transcriptional targets for CO and further elucidate the mechanism by which CO suppresses fibrosis.
PMCID: PMC2701963  PMID: 19097987
carbon monoxide; heme oxygenase-1; lung fibrosis; small proline-rich protein; α-smooth muscle actin
6.  Deletion of Caveolin-1 Protects against Oxidative Lung Injury via Up-Regulation of Heme Oxygenase-1 
Acute lung injury (ALI) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in critically ill patients. Hyperoxia causes lung injury in animals and humans, and is an established model of ALI. Caveolin-1, a major constituent of caveolae, regulates numerous biological processes, including cell death and proliferation. Here we demonstrate that caveolin-1–null mice (cav-1−/−) were resistant to hyperoxia-induced death and lung injury. Cav-1−/− mice sustained reduced lung injury after hyperoxia as determined by protein levels in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid and histologic analysis. Furthermore, cav-1−/− fibroblasts and endothelial cells and cav-1 knockdown epithelial cells resisted hyperoxia-induced cell death in vitro. Basal and inducible expression of the stress protein heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) were markedly elevated in lung tissue or fibroblasts from cav-1−/− mice. Hyperoxia induced the physical interaction between cav-1 and HO-1 in fibroblasts assessed by co-immunoprecipitation studies, which resulted in attenuation of HO activity. Inhibition of HO activity with tin protoporphyrin-IX abolished the survival benefits of cav-1−/− cells and cav-1−/− mice exposed to hyperoxia. The cav-1−/− mice displayed elevated phospho-p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and p38β expression in lung tissue/cells under basal conditions and during hyperoxia. Treatment with SB202190, an inhibitor of p38 MAPK, decreased hyperoxia-inducible HO-1 expression in wild-type and cav-1−/− fibroblasts. Taken together, our data demonstrated that cav-1 deletion protects against hyperoxia-induced lung injury, involving in part the modulation of the HO-1–cav-1 interaction, and the enhanced induction of HO-1 through a p38 MAPK–mediated pathway. These studies identify caveolin-1 as a novel component involved in hyperoxia-induced lung injury.
PMCID: PMC2542454  PMID: 18323531
acute lung injury; acute respiratory distress syndrome; caveolin-1; heme oxygenase-1
7.  Mitochondrial Localization and Function of Heme Oxygenase-1 in Cigarette Smoke–Induced Cell Death 
Cigarette smoke–induced apoptosis and necrosis contribute to the pathogenesis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The induction of heme oxygenase-1 provides cytoprotection against oxidative stress, and may protect in smoking-related disease. Since mitochondria regulate cellular death, we examined the functional expression and mitochondrial localization of heme oxygenase-1 in pulmonary epithelial cells exposed to cigarette smoke extract (CSE), and its role in modulating cell death. Heme oxygenase-1 expression increased dramatically in cytosolic and mitochondrial fractions of human alveolar (A549), or bronchial epithelial cells (Beas-2b) exposed to either hemin, lipopolysaccharide, or CSE. Mitochondrial localization of heme oxygenase-1 was also observed in a primary culture of human small airway epithelial cells. Furthermore, heme oxygenase activity increased dramatically in mitochondrial fractions, and in whole cell extracts of Beas-2b after exposure to hemin and CSE. The mitochondrial localization of heme oxygenase-1 in Beas-2b was confirmed using immunogold-electron microscopy and immunofluorescence labeling on confocal laser microscopy. CSE caused loss of cellular ATP and rapid depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential. Apoptosis occurred in Beas-2b at low concentrations of cigarette smoke extract, whereas necrosis occurred at high concentrations. Overexpression of heme oxygenase-1 inhibited CSE-induced Beas-2b cell death and preserved cellular ATP levels. Finally, heme oxygenase-1 mRNA expression was elevated in the lungs of mice chronically exposed to cigarette smoke. We demonstrate the functional compartmentalization of heme oxygenase-1 in the mitochondria of lung epithelial cells, and its potential role in defense against mitochondria-mediated cell death during CSE exposure.
PMCID: PMC1899328  PMID: 17079780
cigarette smoke; COPD; heme oxygenase-1; mitochondria
8.  Cigarette Smoke Stimulates Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 Activity via EGR-1 in Human Lung Fibroblasts 
Cigarette smoking is a major risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Recent reports of increased matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) in lungs of patients with emphysema support the paradigm of proteinase/antiproteinase imbalance in the pathogenesis of COPD. We sought to define the signaling pathways activated by smoke and to identify molecules responsible for emphysema-associated MMP-2 expression. In this study, we show that cigarette smoke extract (CSE) induced MMP-2 protein expression and increased MMP-2 gelatinase activity of normal lung fibroblasts. We previously identified a transcription factor, early growth response 1 (EGR-1), with robust expression in the lung tissues of patients with COPD compared with control smokers. Here, the treatment of fibroblasts with CSE resulted in marked induction of EGR-1 mRNA and protein in a dose- and time-dependent manner, accompanied by increased EGR-1 binding activity. CSE-induced MMP-2 mRNA and protein expression and activity were significantly inhibited using EGR-1 small interfering RNA (siRNA) or in Egr-1–null−/− mouse fibroblasts. Furthermore, we observed induction of membrane type 1 matrix metalloproteinase (MT1-MMP), which has an EGR-1–binding site on its promoter, in CSE-treated primary normal lung fibroblasts. The concomitant MT1-MMP expression and MMP-2 activation by CSE are inhibited by EGR-1 siRNA. Rapid activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases was observed in CSE-treated fibroblasts. Chemical inhibitors of ERK1/2 MAPK, but not of p38 and JNK, decreased CSE-induced EGR-1 protein expression and MMP-2 activity of fibroblasts. The identification that induction of MMP-2 and MT1-MMP by CSE from lung fibroblasts is EGR-1–dependent reveals a molecular mechanism for matrix remodeling in cigarette smoke–related emphysema.
PMCID: PMC1899323  PMID: 17099140
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; EGR-1; cigarette smoke extract; MMP-2; MT1-MMP
9.  Carbon Monoxide and Bilirubin 
Heme oxygenase (HO)-1, an inducible, low–molecular-weight stress protein, confers cellular and tissue protection in multiple models of injury and disease, including oxidative or inflammatory lung injury, ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injuries, and vascular injury/disease. The tissue protection provided by HO-1 potentially relates to the endogenous production of the end products of its enzymatic activity: namely, biliverdin (BV)/bilirubin (BR), carbon monoxide (CO), and iron. Of these, CO and BV/BR show promise as possible therapeutic agents when applied exogenously in models of lung or vascular injury. CO activates intracellular signaling pathways that involve soluble guanylate cyclase and/or p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase. Although toxic at elevated concentrations, low concentrations of CO can confer antiinflammatory, antiapoptotic, antiproliferative, and vasodilatory effects. BV and BR are natural antioxidants that can provide protection against oxidative stress in cell culture and in plasma. Application of BV or BR protects against I/R injury in several organ models. Recent evidence has also demonstrated antiinflammatory and antiproliferative properties of these pigments. To date, evidence has accumulated for salutary effects of CO, BV, and/or BR in lung/vascular injury models, as well as in models of transplant-associated I/R injury. Thus, the exogenous application of HO end products may provide an alternative to pharmacologic or gene therapy approaches to harness the therapeutic potential of HO-1.
PMCID: PMC2176112  PMID: 16980550
bilirubin; carbon monoxide; heme oxygenase-1; inflammation; ischemia/reperfusion
10.  CCAAT/Enhancer-Binding Protein Mediates Carbon Monoxide–Induced Suppression of Cyclooxygenase-2 
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is a key enzyme involved in the inflammatory process that is rapidly induced in macrophages in response to LPS. Carbon monoxide (CO), a byproduct of heme oxygnease-1, can suppress proinflammatory response in various in vitro and in vivo models of inflammation. This study was undertaken to examine whether CO can regulate (and if so, to delineate the mechanism by which CO regulates) LPS-induced COX-2 expression in macrophages. RAW 264.7 murine macrophages were stimulated with LPS (0–10 ng/ml) with or without CO (500 ppm). Northern and Western blot analysis was done. Progstaglandin E2 and nitrite concentration was measured from cell culture supernatant. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay was performed to assess nuclear factor binding. CO downregulated LPS-induced COX-2 mRNA and protein expression. CO also inhibited LPS-induced prostaglandin E2 secretion (P < 0.05). CO also decreased LPS-induced CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) β and δ protein expression in LPS-treated RAW 264.7 cells. Gel shift analysis revealed that CO treatment decreased LPS-induced activation of protein binding to C/EBP consensus oligonucleotides of murine cyclooxygenase-2 promoter. CO also decreased LPS-induced nitric oxide synthase-2 protein expression and nitrite production, and decreased LPS-induced activation of protein binding to C/EBP consensus oligonucleotides of murine nitric oxide synthase-2 promoter. CO may act as an important regulator of inflammation by virtue of its ability to regulate C/EBPs.
PMCID: PMC2643257  PMID: 16543610
heme oxygenase; lipopolysaccharides; nitric oxide synthase
11.  Caveolin-1 Confers Antiinflammatory Effects in Murine Macrophages via the MKK3/p38 MAPK Pathway 
Caveolin-1 has been reported to regulate apoptosis, lipid metabolism, and endocytosis in macrophages. In the present study, we demonstrate that caveolin-1 can act as a potent immunomodulatory molecule. We first observed caveolin-1 expression in murine alveolar macrophages by Western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy. Loss-of-function experiments using small interfering RNA showed that downregulating caveolin-1 expression in murine alveolar and peritoneal macrophages increased LPS-induced proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α and IL-6 production but decreased anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 production. Gain-of-function experiments demonstrated that overexpression of caveolin-1 in RAW264.7 cells decreased LPS-induced TNF-α and IL-6 production and augmented IL-10 production. p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation was increased by overexpressing caveolin-1 in RAW264.7 cells, whereas c-Jun N-terminal kinase, extracellular signal-regulated kinase MAPK, and Akt phosphorylation were inhibited. The antiinflammatory modulation of LPS-induced cytokine production by caveolin-1 was significantly abrogated by the administration of p38 inhibitor SB203580 in RAW264.7 cells. Peritoneal macrophages isolated from MKK3 null mice did not demonstrate any modulation of LPS-induced cytokine production by caveolin-1. LPS-induced activation of NF-κB and AP-1 determined by electrophoretic mobility shift assay were significantly reduced by overexpressing caveolin-1 in RAW264.7 cells. The reductions were attenuated by the administration of p38 inhibitor SB203580. Taken together, our data suggest that caveolin-1 acts as a potent immunomodulatory effecter molecule in immune cells and that the regulation of LPS-induced cytokine production by caveolin-1 involves the MKK3/p38 MAPK pathway.
PMCID: PMC2644205  PMID: 16357362
caveolin-1; cytokines; inflammation; lipopolysaccharide; macrophages

Results 1-11 (11)