Decreased expression of Met during differentiation in rat lung
Organ-specific stem cells play key roles in maintaining the epithelial cell layers of lung. Bronchioalveolar stem cells (BASCs) are distal lung epithelial stem cells of adult mice. Alveolar type 2 (AT2) cells have important functions and serve as progenitor cells of alveolar type 1 (AT1) cells to repair the epithelium when they are injured. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) elicits mitogenic, morphogenic, and anti-apoptotic effects on lung epithelial cells through tyrosine phosphorylation of Met receptor, and thus is recognized as a pulmotrophic factor. To understand which cells HGF targets in lung, we identified the cells expressing Met by immunofluorescence assay. Met was strongly expressed in BASCs, which expressed an AT2 cell marker, pro-SP-C, and a club cell marker, CCSP. In alveoli, we found higher expression of Met in primary AT2 than in AT1 cells, which was confirmed using primary AT2 cells. We further examined the mitogenic activity of HGF in AT2-cell-derived alveolar-like cysts (ALCs) in 3D culture. Multicellular ALCs expressed Met, and HGF enhanced the ALC production. Taking these findings together, BASCs could also be an important target for HGF, and HGF-Met signaling could function more potent on cells that have greater multipotency in adult lung.
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Copyright (c) 2016 T. Kato, K. Oka, T. Nakamura, A. Ito
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