A novel anti-apoptotic role for apolipoprotein L2 in IFN-γ-induced cytotoxicity in human bronchial epithelial cells.
ABSTRACT Airway epithelium functions not only as a physical barrier, but also a regulator of lung inflammation. IFN-γ plays a critical role in airway inflammation associated with respiratory viral infection. We investigated differential protein profiling in IFN-γ-stimulated normal human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC) using a 2-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by MALDI-TOF-MS/MS. IFN-γ markedly stimulated apolipoprotein L2 (ApoL2) protein expression in normal HBEC. ApoL2 mRNA expression was also elevated in normal human lung fibroblasts and smooth muscle cells stimulated with IFN-γ, in lung tissues from an IFN-γ-predominant influenza A virus-infected mouse lung injury model, and in cancer lung tissues from human patients. Normal HBEC showed strong resistance to IFN-γ-induced cytotoxicity. ApoL2 knockdown by siRNA promoted IFN-γ-induced cytotoxicity as revealed by a significant drop in cell viability using MTT and CyQUANT NF cell proliferation assays, and a marked increase in hypodiploid sub-G1 cell population in cell cycle analysis. Furthermore, depletion of ApoL2 facilitated IFN-γ-induced membrane damage and chromatin condensation as observed in Hoechst and propidium iodide-double staining and in transmission electron microscopy, and DNA fragmentation using a DNA laddering assay, in a caspase-dependent manner. Our results reveal a novel function for ApoL2 in conferring anti-apoptotic ability of human bronchial epithelium to the cytotoxic effects of IFN-γ, in maintaining airway epithelial layer integrity.