Ligand-independent transforming growth factor-β type I receptor signalling mediates type I collagen-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition
ABSTRACT Evidence suggests epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as one potential source of fibroblasts in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. To assess the contribution of alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) EMT to fibroblast accumulation in vivo following lung injury and the influence of extracellular matrix on AEC phenotype in vitro, Nkx2.1-Cre;mT/mG mice were generated in which AECs permanently express green fluorescent protein (GFP). On days 17-21 following intratracheal bleomycin administration, ~4% of GFP-positive epithelial-derived cells expressed vimentin or α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA). Primary AECs from Nkx2.1-Cre;mT/mG mice cultured on laminin-5 or fibronectin maintained an epithelial phenotype. In contrast, on type I collagen, cells of epithelial origin displayed nuclear localization of Smad3, acquired spindle-shaped morphology, expressed α-SMA and phospho-Smad3, consistent with activation of the transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) signalling pathway and EMT. α-SMA induction and Smad3 nuclear localization were blocked by the TGFβ type I receptor (TβRI, otherwise known as Alk5) inhibitor SB431542, while AEC derived from Nkx2.1-Cre;Alk5(flox/KO) mice did not undergo EMT on collagen, consistent with a requirement for signalling via Alk5 in collagen-induced EMT. Inability of a pan-specific TGFβ neutralizing antibody to inhibit effects of collagen together with absence of active TGFβ in culture supernatants is consistent with TGFβ ligand-independent activation of Smad signalling. These results support the notion that AECs can acquire a mesenchymal phenotype following injury in vivo and implicate type I collagen as a key regulator of EMT in AECs through signalling via Alk5, likely in a TGFβ ligand-independent manner.
SourceAvailable from: Roxane M Pommier[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) isoforms are secreted as inactive complexes formed through noncovalent interactions between the bioactive TGF-β entity and its N-terminal latency-associated peptide prodomain. Extracellular activation of the latent TGF-β complex is a crucial step in the regulation of TGF-β function for tissue homeostasis. We show that the fibrinogen-like (FBG) domain of the matrix glycoprotein tenascin-X (TNX) interacts physically with the small latent TGF-β complex in vitro and in vivo, thus regulating the bioavailability of mature TGF-β to cells by activating the latent cytokine into an active molecule. Activation by the FBG domain most likely occurs through a conformational change in the latent complex and involves a novel cell adhesion-dependent mechanism. We identify α11β1 integrin as a cell surface receptor for TNX and show that this integrin is crucial to elicit FBG-mediated activation of latent TGF-β and subsequent epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in mammary epithelial cells.The Journal of Cell Biology 05/2014; 205(3):409-28. DOI:10.1083/jcb.201308031 · 9.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: I am deeply honored to have been awarded an American Thoracic Society Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishment for 2014. Over the last 20 years, it has become clear that the alveolar epithelium, my area of research focus, is not simply a gas exchange surface and barrier to leakage of fluid and protein into the alveoli, but is an active participant in the pathogenesis of a number of lung diseases, including pulmonary fibrosis. Recognition by this Award stimulates a review of the awardee's contributions to the field, as summarized in this perspective.American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology 05/2014; 50(5):853-856. DOI:10.1165/rcmb.2014-0089PS · 4.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Progressive fibrosis involves accumulation of activated collagen-producing mesenchymal cells. Fibrocytes are hematopoietic-derived cells with mesenchymal features that potentially have a unique and critical function during fibrosis. Fibrocytes have been proposed as an important direct contributor of type I collagen deposition during fibrosis based largely on fate-mapping studies. To determine the functional contribution of hematopoietic cell-derived type I collagen to fibrogenesis, we use a double-transgenic system to specifically delete the type I collagen gene across a broad population of hematopoietic cells. These mice develop a robust fibrotic response similar to littermate genotype control mice injured with bleomycin indicating that fibrocytes are not a necessary source of type I collagen. Using collagen-promoter GFP mice, we find that fibrocytes express type I collagen. However, fibrocytes with confirmed deletion of the type I collagen gene have readily detectable intracellular type I collagen indicating that uptake of collagen from neighboring cells account for much of the fibrocyte collagen. Collectively, these results clarify several seemingly conflicting reports regarding the direct contribution of fibrocytes to collagen deposition.