AGER expression and alternative splicing in bronchial biopsies of smokers and never smokers

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Respiratory Research, 2019, 20 (1)
Issue Date:
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© 2019 The Author(s). Cigarette smoking is one of the major risk factors for the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Evidence is accumulating that Receptor for Advanced Glycation-End products (RAGE)-signaling is a key pathway in the pathophysiology of COPD. To date, it is unknown how smoking affects RAGE expression. In the current study, we investigated the effect of smoking on AGER, the gene encoding RAGE, expression and on alternative splicing of AGER. To this end, we conducted RNA-Seq on bronchial biopsies for asymptomatic smokers (n = 36) and never smokers (n = 40). Total AGER gene expression was accessed using DESeq2, while alternative splicing was investigated by measuring the number of specific split reads spanning exon-exon junctions and the total split reads. One of the major isoforms of RAGE is endogenous soluble (es) RAGE, an anti-inflammatory decoy receptor, making up for approximately 10% of the total amount of soluble (s)RAGE. We found that smokers show decreased total gene expression of AGER in bronchial biopsies, while the relative abundance of the esRAGE isoform is increased. Furthermore, no difference in the serum levels of total sRAGE were observed between smokers and non-smokers. Our data indicates that smoking initiates a protective anti-inflammatory mechanism with decreased expression of the pro-inflammatory gene AGER and increased relative abundance of the anti-inflammatory isoform esRAGE.
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