The microRNA 29 family promotes type II cell differentiation in developing lung

Wei Guo, Houda Benlhabib, Carole R. Mendelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lung alveolar type II cells uniquely synthesize surfactant, a developmentally regulated lipoprotein that is essential for breathing. Expression of the gene (SFTPA) encoding the major surfactant protein, SP-A, in midgestation human fetal lung (HFL) is dramatically induced by cyclic AMP (cAMP). cAMP induction of SP-A expression is repressed by transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) and by hypoxia. In this study, we found that expression of the microRNA 29 (miR-29) family was significantly upregulated in epithelial cells isolated from mouse fetal lung during late gestation and in epithelial cells isolated from HFL explants during type II cell differentiation in culture. miR-29 expression in cultured HFL epithelial cells was increased by cAMP and inhibited by hypoxia, whereas the miR-29 target, TGF-β2, was coordinately decreased. Knockdown of the miR-29 family in cultured HFL type II cells blocked cAMP-induced SP-A expression and accumulation of surfactant-containing lamellar bodies, suggesting their physiological relevance. This occurred through derepression of TGF-β signaling. Notably, cAMP increased binding of endogenous thyroid transcription factor 1 (TTF-1/Nkx2.1) to the miR-29ab1 promoter in HFL type II cells, and TTF-1 increased miR-29ab1 promoter-driven luciferase activity in cotransfection assays. Together, these findings identify miR-29 family members as TTF-1- driven mediators of SP-A expression and type II cell differentiation through repression of TGF-β signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2141-2150
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Volume36
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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