p120-catenin expressed in alveolar type II cells is essential for the regulation of lung innate immune response.

Chignalia AZ, Vogel SM, Reynolds AB, Mehta D, Dull RO, Minshall RD, Malik AB, Liu Y
Am J Pathol. 2015 185 (5): 1251-63

PMID: 25773174 · PMCID: PMC4419206 · DOI:10.1016/j.ajpath.2015.01.022

The integrity of the lung alveolar epithelial barrier is required for the gas exchange and is important for immune regulation. Alveolar epithelial barrier is composed of flat type I cells, which make up approximately 95% of the gas-exchange surface, and cuboidal type II cells, which secrete surfactants and modulate lung immunity. p120-catenin (p120; gene symbol CTNND1) is an important component of adherens junctions of epithelial cells; however, its function in lung alveolar epithelial barrier has not been addressed in genetic models. Here, we created an inducible type II cell-specific p120-knockout mouse (p120EKO). The mutant lungs showed chronic inflammation, and the alveolar epithelial barrier was leaky to (125)I-albumin tracer compared to wild type. The mutant lungs also demonstrated marked infiltration of inflammatory cells and activation of NF-κB. Intracellular adhesion molecule 1, Toll-like receptor 4, and macrophage inflammatory protein 2 were all up-regulated. p120EKO lungs showed increased expression of the surfactant proteins Sp-B, Sp-C, and Sp-D, and displayed severe inflammation after pneumonia caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa compared with wild type. In p120-deficient type II cell monolayers, we observed reduced transepithelial resistance compared to control, consistent with formation of defective adherens junctions. Thus, although type II cells constitute only 5% of the alveolar surface area, p120 expressed in these cells plays a critical role in regulating the innate immunity of the entire lung.

Copyright © 2015 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

MeSH Terms (15)

Alveolar Epithelial Cells Animals Blotting, Western Capillary Permeability Catenins Female Immunity, Innate Immunohistochemistry Inflammation Lung Male Mice Mice, Knockout Pulmonary Alveoli Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction

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