Transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) is a critical driver of acute lung injury and fibrosis. Injury leads to activation of TGF-β, which regulates changes in the cellular and matrix makeup of the lung during the repair and fibrosis phase. TGF-β can also initiate alveolar epithelial cell (AEC) apoptosis. Injury leads to destruction of the laminin-rich basement membrane, which is replaced by a provisional matrix composed of arginine-glycine-aspartate (RGD) motif-containing plasma matrix proteins, including vitronectin and fibronectin. To determine the role of specific matrix proteins on TGF-β-induced apoptosis, we studied primary AECs cultured on different matrix conditions and utilized mice with deletion of vitronectin (Vtn−/−) or mice in which the vitronectin RGD motif is mutated to nonintegrin-binding arginine-glycine-glutamate (RGE) (VtnRGE/RGE). We found that AECs cultured on fibronectin and vitronectin or in wild-type mouse serum are resistant to TGF-β-induced apoptosis. In contrast, AECs cultured on laminin or in serum from Vtn−/− or VtnRGE/RGE mice undergo robust TGF-β-induced apoptosis. Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) sensitizes AECs to greater apoptosis by disrupting AEC engagement to vitronectin. Inhibition of integrin-associated signaling proteins augments AEC apoptosis. Mice with transgenic deletion of PAI-1 have less apoptosis after bleomycin, but deletion of vitronectin or disruption of the vitronectin RGD motif reverses this protection, suggesting that the proapoptotic function of PAI-1 is mediated through vitronectin inhibition. Collectively, these data suggest that integrin-matrix signaling is an important regulator of TGF-β-mediated AEC apoptosis and that PAI-1 functions as a natural regulator of this interaction.
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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