Background: The redox-active pyocyanin (PCN) is a toxic, secondary metabolite secreted by the respiratory pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA). Previously, we have shown that mouse lungs chronically exposed to PCN develop goblet cell hyperplasia and metaplasia (GCHM) and mucus hypersecretion, fibrosis and emphysema. These pathological features are commonly found in the airways of several chronic lung diseases, including cystic fibrosis (CF), as well as in mouse airways deficient in the forkhead box A2 (FOXA2), a transcriptional repressor of goblet GCHM and mucus biosynthesis. Furthermore, PCN inhibits FOXA2 by activating the pro-GCHM signaling pathways Stat6 and EGFR. However, it is not known whether PCN-generated reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen (RNS) species posttranslationally modify and inactivate FOXA2.Methods: We examined the posttranslational modifications of FOXA2 by PCN using specific antibodies against oxidation, nitrosylation, acetylation and ubiquitination. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) was used to examine the ability of modified FOXA2 to bind the promoter of MUC5B mucin gene. In addition, we used quantitative real time PCR, ELISA, immunofluorescence and mouse lung infection to assess whether the loss of FOXA2 function caused GCHM and mucin overexpression. Finally, we examined the restoration of FOXA2 function by the antioxidant glutathione (GSH).Results: We found that PCN-generated ROS/RNS caused nitrosylation, acetylation, ubiquitination and degradation of FOXA2. Modified FOXA2 had reduced ability to bind the promoter of the MUC5B gene. The antioxidant GSH alleviated the modification of FOXA2 by PCN, and inhibited the overexpression of MUC5AC and MUC5B mucins.Conclusion: These results suggest that PCN-mediated posttranslational modifications of FOXA2 are positively correlated with GCHM and overexpression of airway mucins. Furthermore, antioxidant treatment restores the function of FOXA2 to attenuate GCHM and mucus hypersecretion.
- Mucus hypersecretion
- Posttranslational modifications
- Reactive oxygen and nitrogen species
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine