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Pediatr Pulmonol. 1999 Feb;27(2):95-103.

Calcium-PS-dependent protein kinase C and surfactant protein A in isolated fetal rabbit type II alveolar cells and surfactant-related material.

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  • 1Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


The fetal lung secretes significant quantities of surfactant during late gestation to prepare for initiation of respiration at birth. However, the mechanism by which this occurs has not been determined. Since Ca2+-phosphatidylserine (PS)-dependent protein kinase C has been implicated in surfactant secretion in adult lung, the present study was done to determine whether this enzyme is also involved in the initiation of surfactant release from fetal type II cells. Type II cells isolated from gestational day-24 fetal rabbits were used. Cells were prelabelled with [32P] and [3H]choline and exposed to 4beta phorbol ester (10(-5) M) for 2 h. Secretion product and subcellular fractions were isolated by removing the culture medium, mixing with homogenate from adult rabbit lung, and subfractionating by centrifugation on a sucrose gradient. Samples of secretion product were also prepared for electron microscopy. Ca2+-PS-dependent protein kinase C was also assayed in some samples, and an add-back technique was used to determine whether enzyme activity in the intracellularly stored surfactant fraction was due to contamination. The results showed that material released by fetal type II cells after exposure to phorbol ester coprecipitated with adult rabbit lung lamellar bodies and microsomes. Morphologically, a range of forms, including lamellar-body-like structures, was detected. The released material originated largely from the lamellar body compartment of the fetal type II cells and displayed immunoreactivity with antibody to surfactant protein A (SP-A) at 35 and 70 kDa apparent molecular mass. Assay of protein kinase C in fetal type II cells showed that exposure to conditioned medium, which induces differentiation, increased activity. Incubation with phorbol ester induced translocation of activity to the microsomal fraction. Add-back assays suggested that protein kinase C activation by treatment with phorbol ester induced translocation of enzyme activity to the lamellar body fraction; none was detected prior to treatment. These results support a role for Ca2+-PS-dependent protein kinase C in initiation of surfactant release by interaction with the developing lamellar body compartment in fetal type II cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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