Regulation of TGF-{beta}1-Driven Differentiation of Human Lung Fibroblasts: Emerging Roles of Cathepsin B and Cystatin C [Protein Synthesis and Degradation]

April 30th, 2014 by Kasabova, M., Joulin-Giet, A., Lecaille, F., Gilmore, B. F., Marchand-Adam, S., Saidi, A., Lalmanach, G.

Lung matrix homeostasis partly depends on the fine regulation of proteolytic activities. We examined the expression of human cysteine cathepsins (Cats) and their relative contribution to TGF-β1-induced fibroblast differentiation into myofibroblasts. Assays were conducted using both primary fibroblasts obtained from patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and human lung CCD-19Lu fibroblasts. Pharmacological inhibition and genetic silencing of Cat B diminished α-smooth muscle actin expression, delayed fibroblast differentiation and led to an accumulation of intracellular 50-kDa TGF-β1. Moreover addition of Cat B generated 25-kDa mature form of TGF-β1 in Cat B siRNA-pretreated lysates. Inhibition of Cat B decreased Smad 2/3 phosphorylation, but had no effect on p38 MAPK and JNK phosphorylation indicating that Cat B mostly disturbs TGF-β1-driven canonical Smad signaling pathway. While mRNA expression of cystatin C was stable, its secretion, which was inhibited by brefeldin A, increased during TGF-β1-induced differentiation of IPF and CCD-19Lu fibroblasts. In addition cystatin C participated in the control of extracellular Cats, since its gene silencing restored their proteolytic activities. These data support the notion that Cat B participates in lung myofibrogenesis as suggested for stellate cells during liver fibrosis. Moreover, we propose that TGF-β1 promotes fibrosis by driving the effective cystatin C-dependent inhibition of extracellular matrix-degrading Cats.
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