Prostaglandin E<inf>2</inf> regulation of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator activity and airway surface liquid volume requires gap junctional communication

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Journal Article
American Journal of Respiratory Cell and Molecular Biology, 2010, 44 (1), pp. 74 - 82
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Stimulation of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) by protease-activated receptors (PARs) at the basolateral membranes and by adenosine receptors (ADO-Rs) at the apical membrane maintain airway surface liquid (ASL) volume, which is required to ensure hydrated and clearable mucus. Both pathways involve the release of prostaglandin E2 (PGE 2) and the stimulation of their basolateral receptors (EP-Rs). We sought to determine whether gap junctions contribute to the coordination of these pathways for modulating CFTR activity and mucus hydration. We used RT-PCR and Western blotting to determine connexin (Cx), CD73, and EP-R expression in a Calu-3 airway epithelial cell line grown on Transwell (Corning Costar, Cambridge, MA) inserts. We used dye coupling to evaluate gap junctional intercellular communication (GJIC). We used Ussing chamber studies and X-Z confocal microscopy to monitor Cl- secretion and ASL volume regulation.We found that connexin 43 (Cx43)-mediated GJIC was increased either by endogenous ADO after the hydrolysis of purine nucleotides by CD73 or by the direct activation of ADO-Rs. Inhibition of phospholipase A2 and cyclooxygenase prevented ADO-dependent increases in GJIC, suggesting the involvement of PGE2. PGE2 was found to increase GJIC markedly by stimulating EP4-Rs. The mod ulation ofADO signaling also affected the PAR-dependent activation of FTR. The reduction of GJIC by CD73 or Cx43 inhibition prevented PARevoked CFTR currents in Ussing chambers. The inhibition of GJIC resulted in a failure of PGE2 to increase ASL volume in Calu-3 cells and in primary cultures of well-differentiated human airway epithelial cells. Thus, gap junctions coordinate a signaling network comprising CFTR, ADO-Rs, PARs, and EP-Rs, and are required for ASL volume homeostasis.
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