Developmental expression and localization of the catalytic subunit of protein phosphatase 2A in rat lung

Chun Xue, Felice Heller, Roger A. Johns, Allen D. Everett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Protein phosphatase type-2A (PP2A) is a highly conserved serine/threonine phosphatase known to play a key role in cell proliferation and differentiation in vitro, but the role of PP2A in mammalian embryogenesis remains unexplored. No particular information exists as to the tissue or cell specific expression of PP2A or the relevance of PP2A expression to mammalian development in vivo. To examine expression of PP2A during mammalian lung development, we studied fetal rats from day 14 of gestation (the lung bud is formed on day 12 of gestation) to parturition. Western analysis with a specific PP2A catalytic subunit antibody identified a single 36 kDa protein, with protein levels two-fold higher in the 17 and 19 day embryonic lung as compared to the adult. With in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, both mRNA and protein for PP2A were localized equally to the epithelial lining of the embryonic lung airway and the surrounding mesenchyme in the 14 day embryonic lung. With maturation of the lung, PP2A becomes highly expressed in respiratory epithelium. The highest level of expression was in the earliest developing airways with columnar epithelium (the pseudoglandular stage, 15-18 days of gestation). There was a decrease in expression with the transformation to cuboidal epithelium by day 20 of gestation. This was most noticeable in the developing bronchial epithelium of the 19 and 20 day gestation lungs where only an occasional cell continues to express PP2A. Mesenchymal hybridization was most obvious in early endothelial cells of forming vascular channels at 17-19 days of gestation. PP2A respiratory epithelial expression mimicked the centrifugal development of the respiratory tree where the highest expression was in the peripheral columnar epithelium (15-18 days gestation) with only an occasional central bronchiolar cell continuing to express PP2A at 19 and 20 days gestation. Endothelial hybridization decreased with muscularization of large pulmonary arteries with low levels of expression detected in bronchial or vascular smooth muscle. In the newborn lung PP2A expression was decreased, but detectable in alveolar epithelium and vascular endothelium. In summary; 1) PP2A mRNA and protein exhibit cell specific expression during rat lung development; 2) PP2A is highly expressed in the respiratory epithelium of the fetal rat lung and is temporally related to the maturation of the bronchial epithelium; 3) and the PP2A subunit is highly expressed in early vascular endothelium, but not smooth muscle of the rat lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Endothelium
  • Epithelium
  • Fetus
  • Immnnohistochemistry
  • In situ hybridization
  • Lung development
  • Serine/threonine phosphatase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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