Tenascin in rat lung development: in situ localization and cellular sources.
Tenascin (TN) is a hexameric extracellular matrix glycoprotein that may play an important role during lung development. TN protein is temporally and spatially restricted during lung organogenesis. The temporo-spatial and cellular expression of TN mRNA in lung remains unclear. Localization of message expression of TN in rat lung tissue was first investigated by using in situ hybridization performed with an antisense RNA probe. TN mRNA was present primarily within the mesenchyme of day 16 gestational age fetal rat lung tissue, whereas immunoreactive TN protein was found along the basement membrane. In postnatal day 3 rat lung tissue, TN mRNA was detected along alveolar septal walls and was concentrated at secondary septal tips. Expression of TN message was consistent with localization of immunoreactive TN protein. Accumulation of TN mRNA in alveolar septal tips suggests that mesenchyme may be the major source of TN mRNA. To investigate the cellular source of TN in rat lung, we studied the expression of TN in cultured rat lung fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and alveolar epithelial cells. Two TN isoforms having molecular mass of 230 and 180 kDa were in conditioned medium and in cellular extracts of lung fibroblasts and endothelial cells. TN was secreted and deposited in the extracellular matrix closely associated with the surface of lung fibroblasts and endothelial cells. Lung alveolar epithelial cells showed undetectable or barely detectable amounts of TN. These studies demonstrated that TN isoforms are expressed not only by lung fibroblasts but also by lung endothelial cells. The unique spatial localization of TN mRNA during lung development and expression of TN by different lung cell types suggested TN may be involved in matrix organization and cell-cell interactions during lung development.
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