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Am J Physiol. 1996 Dec;271(6 Pt 1):L972-80.

Expression of fibronectin mRNA splice variants by rabbit lung in vivo and by alveolar type II cells in vitro.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Strong Children's Research Center, University of Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Fibronectin (FN) is a multidomain glycoprotein with putative functions in tissue development and repair. In repair of alveolar injury, FN may promote the transition of type II epithelial cells to type I epithelial cells. Alternative splicing of FN mRNA, including the EIIIA and EIIIB exons, results in protein isoforms that have cell, tissue, and developmental specificity. The present work found that FN mRNA with the EIIIA exon was in fetal, adult, and oxidant-injured lung. The EIIIB splice variant, however, was restricted to fetal lung and adult lung recovering from oxidant injury. Because alveolar type II cells in vitro express FN, we examined the splice variants in two conditions that induce FN [transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1) treatment and time in culture]. TGF-beta 1 increased both EIIIA and EIIIB mRNA abundance by 10-fold. Increased EIIIA isoform immunostaining was also noted. Type II cells that spontaneously express FN at 72 h in vitro had increased EIIIA and EIIIB mRNA and increased immunostaining for EIIIA. Nuclear runoff showed induction of FN gene transcription at 72 h in vitro. Together, these data show differential FN splice variant expression in lung, with EIIIB mRNA restricted to fetal and recovering oxidant-injured lung. Furthermore, the transition of type II cells to a type I-like cell is accompanied by increased FN gene transcription and induction of both EIIIA and EIIIB mRNA.

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