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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Interferon-alpha upregulates gene expression of aquaporin-5 in human parotid glands.

Aquaporins are a family of homologous membrane proteins that function as highly selective water channels. Aquaporin-5 (AQP5) is uniquely present in lacrimal and salivary glands, where it accounts for normal tear and saliva production. We tested the hypothesis that orally administered human interferon-alpha (HuIFN-alpha) benefits persons with xerostomia by augmenting the production of AQP5 protein by parotid gland epithelium. Cells from three human parotid glands were cultured with and without human lymphoblastoid IFN-alpha, and assayed for AQP5 mRNA levels by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and AQP5 protein levels by Western blot. Intracellular localization of AQP5 protein was done using confocal microscopy. The functional integrity of the glandular tissue was confirmed by RT-PCR analysis of alpha-amylase 1 and basic proline-rich protein transcripts. AQP5 was constitutively expressed in human parotid gland tissue, with AQP5 protein restricted to the plasma membranes and cytoplasmic vesicles of acinar cells. IFN-alpha augmented AQP5 transcription and protein production in a concentration-dependent manner, and increased the size of intensity of staining of AQP5-containing cytoplasmic vesicles in acinar cells. We conclude that IFN-alpha upregulates AQP5 gene expression in human parotid acinar cells in vitro. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that IFN-alpha regulates the gene expression of an aquaporin.[1]


  1. Interferon-alpha upregulates gene expression of aquaporin-5 in human parotid glands. Smith, J.K., Siddiqui, A.A., Modica, L.A., Dykes, R., Simmons, C., Schmidt, J., Krishnaswamy, G.A., Berk, S.L. J. Interferon Cytokine Res. (1999) [Pubmed]
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