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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2001 May;280(5):L991-8.

Synexin and GTP increase surfactant secretion in permeabilized alveolar type II cells.

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  • 1Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA. achander@mail.som.sunysb.edu


We have previously suggested that synexin (annexin VII), a Ca(2+)-dependent phospholipid binding protein, may have a role in surfactant secretion, since it promotes membrane fusion between isolated lamellar bodies (the surfactant-containing organelles) and plasma membranes. In this study, we investigated whether exogenous synexin can augment surfactant phosphatidylcholine (PC) secretion in synexin-deficient lung epithelial type II cells. Isolated rat type II cells were cultured for 20-22 h with [(3)H]choline to label cellular PC. The cells were then treated with beta-escin, which forms pores in the cell membrane and releases cytoplasmic proteins including synexin. These cells, however, retained lamellar bodies. The permeabilized type II cells were evaluated for PC secretion during a 30-min incubation. Compared with PC secretion under basal conditions, the presence of Ca(2+) (up to 10 microM) did not increase PC secretion. In the presence of 1 microM Ca(2+), synexin increased PC secretion in a concentration-dependent manner, which reached a maximum at approximately 5 microg/ml synexin. The secretagogue effect of synexin was abolished when synexin was inactivated by heat treatment (30 min at 65 degrees C) or by treatment with synexin antibodies. GTP or its nonhydrolyzable analog beta:gamma-imidoguanosine-5'-triphosphate also increased PC secretion in permeabilized type II cells. The PC secretion was further increased in an additive manner when a maximally effective concentration of synexin was added in the presence of 1 mM GTP, suggesting that GTP acts by a synexin-independent mechanism to increase membrane fusion. Thus our results support a direct role for synexin in surfactant secretion. Our study also suggests that membrane fusion during surfactant secretion may be mediated by two independent mechanisms.

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