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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Jun 20;92(13):5925-9.

Bronchiolar nonciliated secretory (Clara) cells: source of guanylin in the mammalian lung.

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Department of Anatomy, Hannover Medical School, Germany.


The peptide guanylin, which has recently been isolated from the intestine, is involved in the regulation of fluid secretion in the intestinal epithelium by activation of guanylate cyclase C, the putative guanylin receptor. Since the latter protein is also expressed in airway epithelia, we investigated the lung of three mammalian species for the presence and cellular localization of guanylin by immunoblot (Western blot) analyses and light and electron microscopical immunocytochemistry. In Western blots of bovine, guinea pig, and rat lung extracts, three different guanylin antisera directed against the midportion and against the C terminus of the precursor molecule identified a peptide band corresponding to the apparent molecular mass of guanylin. Localization studies in the lung revealed that guanylin is exclusively confined to nonciliated secretory (Clara) cells in the lining of distal conducting airways. The presence of guanylin in the lung and particularly its specific localization to Clara cells indicate that these cells may play a pivotal role in the local (paracrine) regulation of electrolyte/water transport in airway epithelia.

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