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

Survival signaling in type II pneumocytes activated by surfactant protein-A.

Surfactant-associated protein-A ( SP-A) is a component of pulmonary surfactant that acts as a cytokine through interaction with a cell-surface receptor (SPAR) on lung epithelial cells. SP-A regulates important physiological processes including surfactant secretion, gene expression, and protection against apoptosis. Tyrosine kinase and PI3K inhibitors block effects of SP-A, suggesting that SPAR may be a receptor tyrosine kinase and activate the PI3K- PKB/Akt pathway. Here we report that SP-A treatment leads to rapid tyrosine-specific phosphorylation of several important proteins in lung epithelial cells including insulin receptor substrate-1 ( IRS-1), an upstream activator of PI3K. Analysis of anti-apoptotic signaling species downstream of IRS-1 showed activation of PKB/Akt but not of MAPK. Phosphorylation of IkappaB was minimally affected by SP-A as was NFkappaB gel shift activity. However, FKHR was rapidly phosphorylated in response to SP-A and its DNA-binding activity was significantly reduced. Since FKHR is pro-apoptotic, this may play an important role in signaling the anti-apoptotic effects of SP-A. Therefore, we have characterized survival-enhancing signaling activated by SP-A leading from SPAR through IRS-1, PI3K, PKB/Akt, and FKHR. The activity of this pathway may explain, in part, the resilience of type II cells to lung injury and their survival to repopulate alveolar epithelium after peripheral lung damage.[1]


  1. Survival signaling in type II pneumocytes activated by surfactant protein-A. White, M.K., Strayer, D.S. Exp. Cell Res. (2002) [Pubmed]
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