Phf14, a novel regulator of mesenchyme growth via platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) receptor-α.
ABSTRACT The regulation of mesenchymal cell growth by signaling molecules plays an important role in maintaining tissue functions. Aberrant mesenchymal cell proliferation caused by disruption of this regulatory process leads to pathogenetic events such as fibrosis. In the current study we have identified a novel nuclear factor, Phf14, which controls the proliferation of mesenchymal cells by regulating PDGFRα expression. Phf14-null mice died just after birth due to respiratory failure. Histological analyses of the lungs of these mice showed interstitial hyperplasia with an increased number of PDGFRα(+) mesenchymal cells. PDGFRα expression was elevated in Phf14-null mesenchymal fibroblasts, resulting in increased proliferation. We demonstrated that Phf14 acts as a transcription factor that directly represses PDGFRα expression. Based on these results, we used an antibody against PDGFRα to successfully treat mouse lung fibrosis. This study shows that Phf14 acts as a negative regulator of PDGFRα expression in mesenchymal cells undergoing normal and abnormal proliferation, and is a potential target for new treatments of lung fibrosis.