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Dev Biol. 2002 Jun 15;246(2):231-44.

Laminin alpha 5 is required for lobar septation and visceral pleural basement membrane formation in the developing mouse lung.

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Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Division, Department of Internal Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110, USA.


Laminin alpha/beta/gamma heterotrimers are the major noncollagenous components of all basement membranes. To date, five alpha, three beta, and three gamma chains have been identified. Laminin alpha 5 is expressed early in lung development and colocalizes with laminin alpha1. While laminin alpha1 expression in the lung is restricted to the embryonic period, laminin alpha 5 expression persists throughout embryogenesis and adulthood. Targeted mutation of the mouse laminin alpha 5 gene Lama5 causes embryonic lethality at E14-E17 associated with exencephaly, syndactyly, placentopathy, and kidney defects, all attributable to abnormal basement membranes. In this investigation, lung development in Lama5(-/-) mice up to E16.5 was examined. We observed normal lung branching morphogenesis and vasculogenesis, but incomplete lobar septation and absence of the visceral pleura basement membrane. Preservation of branching morphogenesis was associated with ectopic deposition of laminin alpha 4 in the airway basement membrane. Perturbation of pleural basement membrane formation and right lung septation correlated with absence of laminin alpha 5, which was found to be the only laminin alpha chain present in the normal visceral pleura basement membrane. Our finding of normal lung branching morphogenesis with abnormal lobar septation demonstrates that these processes are not obligatorily linked.

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