The Fra-1/AP-1 transcription factor plays a key role in tumor epithelial cell progression; however, its role in pathogenic lung fibrosis remains unclear. In the present study, using a genetic approach (Fra-1 deficient mice), we have demonstrated a novel regulatory (protective) role for Fra-1 in lung fibrosis. We found greater levels of progressive interstitial fibrosis, characterized by increased levels of inflammation, collagen accumulation, and profibrotic and fibrotic gene expression in the lungs of Fra-1Δ/Δ mice than in those of Fra-1+/+ mice following bleomycin treatment. Fra-1 knockdown in human lung epithelial cells caused the upregulation of mesenchymal marker N-cadherin, concomitant with a downregulation of the epithelial phenotype marker E-cadherin, under basal conditions and in response to bleomycin and TGF-β1. Furthermore, Fra-1 knockdown caused an enhanced expression of type 1 collagen and the downregulation of collagenase (MMP-1 and MMP-13) gene expression in human lung epithelial cells. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that Fra-1 mediates anti-fibrotic effects in the lung through the modulation of proinflammatory, profibrotic and fibrotic gene expression, and suggests that the Fra-1 transcription factor may be a potential target for pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive disorder with poor prognosis and treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)