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Mutze, Kathrin; Vierkotten, Sarah; Milosevic, Jadranka; Eickelberg, Oliver and Koenigshoff, Melanie (2015): Enolase 1 (ENO1) and protein disulfide-isomerase associated 3 (PDIA3) regulate Wnt/beta-catenin-driven trans-differentiation of murine alveolar epithelial cells. In: Disease Models & Mechanisms, Vol. 8, No. 8: 877-U589 [PDF, 2MB]

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The alveolar epithelium represents a major site of tissue destruction during lung injury. It consists of alveolar epithelial type I (ATI) and type II (ATII) cells. ATII cells are capable of self-renewal and exert progenitor function for ATI cells upon alveolar epithelial injury. Cell differentiation pathways enabling this plasticity and allowing for proper repair, however, are poorly understood. Here, we applied proteomics, expression analysis and functional studies in primary murine ATII cells to identify proteins and molecular mechanisms involved in alveolar epithelial plasticity. Mass spectrometry of cultured ATII cells revealed a reduction of carbonyl reductase 2 (CBR2) and an increase in enolase 1 (ENO1) and protein disulfide-isomerase associated 3 (PDIA3) protein expression during ATII-to-ATI cell trans-differentiation. This was accompanied by increased Wnt/beta-catenin signaling, as analyzed by qRT-PCR and immunoblotting. Notably, ENO1 and PDIA3, along with T1 alpha (podoplanin;an ATI cell marker),exhibited decreased protein expression upon pharmacological and molecular Wnt/beta-catenin inhibition in cultured ATII cells, whereas CBR2 levels were stabilized. Moreover, we analyzed primary ATII cells from mice with bleomycin-induced lung injury, a model exhibiting activated Wnt/beta-catenin signaling in vivo. We observed reduced CBR2 significantly correlating with surfactant protein C (SFTPC),whereas ENO1 and PDIA3 along with T1 alpha were increased in injured ATII cells. Finally, siRNA-mediated knockdown of ENO1, as well as PDIA3, in primary ATII cells led to reduced T1 alpha expression, indicating diminished cell trans-differentiation. Our data thus identified proteins involved in ATII-to-ATI cell trans-differentiation and suggest a Wnt/beta-catenin-driven functional role of ENO1 and PDIA3 in alveolar epithelial cell plasticity in lung injury and repair.

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