deltaNp63 has a role in maintaining epithelial integrity in airway epithelium.

Arason, Ari Jon; Jonsdottir, Hulda; Halldorsson, Skarphedinn; Benediktsdottir, Berglind Eva; Bergthorsson, Jon Thor; Ingthorsson, Saevar; Baldursson, Olafur; Sinha, Satrajit; Gudjonsson, Thorarinn; Magnusson, Magnus K (2014). deltaNp63 has a role in maintaining epithelial integrity in airway epithelium. PLoS ONE, 9(2), e88683. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0088683

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The upper airways are lined with a pseudostratified bronchial epithelium that forms a barrier against unwanted substances in breathing air. The transcription factor p63, which is important for stratification of skin epithelium, has been shown to be expressed in basal cells of the lungs and its ΔN isoform is recognized as a key player in squamous cell lung cancer. However, the role of p63 in formation and maintenance of bronchial epithelia is largely unknown. The objective of the current study was to determine the expression pattern of the ΔN and TA isoforms of p63 and the role of p63 in the development and maintenance of pseudostratified lung epithelium in situ and in culture. We used a human bronchial epithelial cell line with basal cell characteristics (VA10) to model bronchial epithelium in an air-liquid interface culture (ALI) and performed a lentiviral-based silencing of p63 to characterize the functional and phenotypic consequences of p63 loss. We demonstrate that ΔNp63 is the major isoform in the human lung and its expression was exclusively found in the basal cells lining the basement membrane of the bronchial epithelium. Knockdown of p63 affected proliferation and migration of VA10 cells and facilitated cellular senescence. Expression of p63 is critical for epithelial repair as demonstrated by wound healing assays. Importantly, generation of pseudostratified VA10 epithelium in the ALI setup depended on p63 expression and goblet cell differentiation, which can be induced by IL-13 stimulation, was abolished by the p63 knockdown. After knockdown of p63 in primary bronchial epithelial cells they did not proliferate and showed marked senescence. We conclude that these results strongly implicate p63 in the formation and maintenance of differentiated pseudostratified bronchial epithelium.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Institute of Virology and Immunology
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)

UniBE Contributor:

Jonsdottir, Hulda Run


600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




Public Library of Science




Barbara Gautschi-Steffen

Date Deposited:

23 Apr 2015 15:45

Last Modified:

02 Mar 2023 23:26

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