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Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2007 Apr;292(4):L944-52. Epub 2007 Jan 5.

Activation of elastin transcription by transforming growth factor-beta in human lung fibroblasts.

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Pulmonary Center, Boston University School of Medicine, 80 E. Concord St., Boston, MA 02118, USA.


Elastin synthesis is essential for lung development and postnatal maturation as well as for repair following injury. Using human embryonic lung fibroblasts that express undetectable levels of elastin as assessed by Northern analyses, we found that treatment with exogenous transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) induced rapid and transient increases in levels of elastin heterogeneous nuclear RNA (hnRNA) followed by increases of elastin mRNA and protein expression. In fibroblasts derived from transgenic mice, TGF-beta induced increases in the expression of a human elastin gene promoter fragment driving a chloramphenicol acetyl transferase reporter gene. The induction of elastin hnRNA and mRNA expression by TGF-beta was abolished by pretreatments with TGF-beta receptor I inhibitor, global transcription inhibitor actinomycin D, and partially blocked by addition of protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide, but was not affected by the p44/42 MAPK inhibitor U0126. Pretreatment with the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB-203580 also partially attenuated the levels of TGF-beta-induced elastin mRNA but not its hnRNA. Western analysis indicated that TGF-beta stimulated Akt phosphorylation. Inhibition of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and Akt phosphorylation by LY-294002 abolished TGF-beta-induced increases in elastin hnRNA and mRNA expression. Treatment of lung fibroblasts with interleukin-1beta or the histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A inhibited TGF-beta-induced elastin mRNA and hnRNA expression by a mechanism that involved inhibition of Akt phosphorylation. Downregulation of Akt2 but not Akt1 expression employing small interfering RNA duplexes blocked TGF-beta-induced increases of elastin hnRNA and mRNA levels. Together, our results demonstrated that TGF-beta activates elastin transcription that is dependent on phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt activity.

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