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Differentiation. 1989 Jul;41(1):78-86.

Keratin protein expression during the development of conducting airway epithelium in nonhuman primates.

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California Primate Research Center, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


Keratin protein expression during the development of Rhesus monkey conducting airway epithelium was investigated by both biochemical and immunohistochemical methods. Keratin proteins were extracted from tracheal and intrapulmonary airway tissues of fetal (at 80- and 140-day gestational ages), neonatal, and adult animals. Using immunoblot analyses and immunohistochemistry with various monoclonal (AE1, AE3, AE8, 6.01 and 6.11) and monospecific antibodies (anti-50/55 and anti-40 kDa), the presence of keratins 5, 6, 8, 13, 14, and 19 in adult airway epithelium were demonstrated. Except for keratin 13 (51 kDa), the remaining keratins could be immunologically detected in fetal and neonatal tissues. To further understand the nature of the synthesis of keratin 13 during development, airway epithelial cells from different ages were isolated and cultured in vitro. Cultured cells were labeled with 35S-methionine, and the patterns of keratin protein were analyzed by one- and two-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS)-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Results indicated that the cultured airway cells synthesized additional keratins including 7, 15, 16, 17, and 18. However, consistent with the in vivo finding, fetal cells synthesized less or no keratin 13. These in vivo and in vitro studies strongly suggest that the synthesis of the keratin 13 in monkey conducting airway epithelium is developmentally regulated.

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