Epigenetic regulation of caveolin-1 gene expression in lung fibroblasts

Academic Article


  • Fibrotic disorders are associated with tissue accumulation of fibroblasts. We recently showed that caveolin (Cav)-1 gene suppression by a profibrotic cytokine, transforming growth factor (TGF)-b1, contributes to fibroblast proliferation and apoptosis resistance. Cav-1 has been shown to be constitutively suppressed in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), but mechanisms for this suppression are incompletely understood. We hypothesized that epigenetic processes contribute to Cav-1 down-regulation in IPF lung fibroblasts, and after fibrogenic stimuli. Cav-1 expression levels, DNA methylation status, and histone modifications associated with the Cav-1 promoter were examined by PCR, Western blots, pyrosequencing, or chromatin immunoprecipitation assays in IPF lung fibroblasts, normal fibroblasts after TGF-b1 stimulation, or in murine lung fibroblasts after bleomycin injury. Methylation-specific PCRdemonstrated methylated and unmethylated Cav-1DNAcopies in all groups. Despite significant changes in Cav-1 expression, no changes in DNA methylation were observed in CpG islands or CpG island shores of the Cav-1 promoter by pyrosequencing of lung fibroblasts from IPF lungs, in response to TGF-b1, or after bleomycin-induced murine lung injury, when compared with respective controls. In contrast, the association of Cav-1 promoter with the active histone modification mark, H3 lysine 4 trimethylation, correlated with Cav-1 down-regulation in activated/fibrotic lung fibroblasts. Our data indicate that Cav-1 gene silencing in lung fibroblasts is actively regulated by epigenetic mechanisms that involve histone modifications, in particular H3 lysine 4 trimethylation, whereasDNAmethylation does not appear to be a primary mechanism. These findings support therapeutic strategies that target histone modifications to restore Cav-1 expression in fibroblasts participating in pathogenic tissue remodeling.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sanders YY; Liu H; Scruggs AM; Duncan SR; Huang SK; Thannickal VJ
  • Start Page

  • 50
  • End Page

  • 61
  • Volume

  • 56
  • Issue

  • 1