Modulation of secretory leukoprotease inhibitor gene expression in human bronchial epithelial cells by phorbol ester
Gene Expression Regulation
Serine Proteinase Inhibitors
Secretory leukoprotease inhibitor (SLPI), a 12-kD nonglycosylated serine antiprotease, helps to protect the epithelial surface of the airways from the destructive capacity of neutrophil elastase. Based on the recognition that SLPI levels can increase in the presence of airway inflammation, we hypothesized that inflammatory stimuli should modulate the expression of the SLPI gene in airway epithelial cells. To evaluate this, the modulation of SLPI gene expression with various inflammatory stimuli was evaluated in the HS-24 human bronchial epithelial cell line. After preliminary studies showed that several inflammatory mediators enhanced SLPI messenger RNA (mRNA) levels, PMA was used as a model inflammatory stimulus. PMA significantly increased the level of 0.7-kb SLPI mRNA transcripts in HS-24 cells in a dose- and time-dependent fashion and increased the amount of SLPI protein in the culture supernatant. Nuclear run-on analyses showed that the SLPI gene transcription rate increased approximately twofold after PMA stimulation. Transfection studies using fusion genes composed of fragments of up to 1.2 kb of the 5' flanking sequence of the SLPI gene and a luciferase reporter gene demonstrated potent promoter activity in the 131-bp segment (-115 to +16 relative to the transcription start site), and all longer segments up to 1.2 kb, whereas smaller segments showed low promoter activity. An 18-bp element (-98 to -115), in a region with homology to PMA-responsive regions in the Moloney murine leukemia virus enhancer and the IL-8 gene, was shown to be of importance in the level of transcription of the SLPI gene. However, this element was not responsible for the upregulation of SLPI gene expression by PMA. Evaluation of HS-24 cells in the presence of actinomycin D demonstrated that SLPI mRNA transcripts were very stable and became more so in the presence of PMA. Thus, SLPI gene expression in airway epithelial cells can be upregulated by an inflammatory stimulus, and this modulation is regulated at both the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels. These mechanisms of SLPI upregulation likely play a role in defending the epithelial surface in the local milieu of inflammatory lung diseases.