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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2006 Sep;291(3):L523-34. Epub 2006 Apr 14.

Role of caveolin-1 in p42/p44 MAP kinase activation and proliferation of human airway smooth muscle.

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Department of Physiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Chronic airways diseases, including asthma, are associated with an increased airway smooth muscle (ASM) mass, which may contribute to chronic airway hyperresponsiveness. Increased muscle mass is due, in part, to increased ASM proliferation, although the precise molecular mechanisms for this response are not completely clear. Caveolae, which are abundant in smooth muscle cells, are membrane microdomains where receptors and signaling effectors can be sequestered. We hypothesized that caveolae and caveolin-1 play an important regulatory role in ASM proliferation. Therefore, we investigated their role in p42/p44 MAPK signaling and proliferation using human ASM cell lines. Disruption of caveolae using methyl-beta-cyclodextrin and small interfering (si)RNA-knockdown of caveolin-1 caused spontaneous p42/p44 MAPK activation; additionally, caveolin-1 siRNA induced ASM proliferation in mitogen deficient conditions, suggesting a key role for caveolae and caveolin-1 in maintaining quiescence. Moreover, caveolin-1 accumulates twofold in myocytes induced to a contractile phenotype compared with proliferating ASM cells. Caveolin-1 siRNA failed to increase PDGF-induced p42/p44 MAPK activation and cell proliferation, however, indicating that PDGF stimulation actively reversed the antimitogenic control by caveolin-1. Notably, the PDGF induced loss of antimitogenic control by caveolin-1 coincided with a marked increase in caveolin-1 phosphorylation. Furthermore, the strong association of PDGF receptor-beta with caveolin-1 that exists in quiescent cells was rapidly and markedly reduced with agonist addition. This suggests a dynamic relationship in which mitogen stimulation actively reverses caveolin-1 suppression of p42/p44 MAPK signal transduction. As such, caveolae and caveolin-1 coordinate PDGF receptor signaling, leading to myocyte proliferation, and inhibit constitutive activity of p42/p44 MAPK to sustain cell quiescence.

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