Laminin α-chain expression and basement membrane formation by MLE-15 respiratory epithelial cells

Nguyet M. Nguyen, Yushi Bai, Katsumi Mochitate, Robert M. Senior

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17 Scopus citations


Basement membranes have a critical role in alveolar structure and function. Alveolar type II cells make basement membrane constituents, including laminin, but relatively little is known about the production of basement membrane proteins by murine alveolar type II cells and a convenient system is not available to study basement membrane production by murine alveolar type II cells. To facilitate study of basement membrane production, with particular focus on laminin chains, we examined transformed murine distal respiratory epithelial cells (MLE-15), which have many structural and biochemical features of alveolar type II cells. We found that MLE-15 cells produce laminin-α5, a trace amount of larainin-α3, laminins-β1 and -γ1, type IV collagen, and perlecan. Transforming growth factor-β1 significantly induces expression of laminin-α1. When grown on a fibroblast-embedded collagen gel, MLE-15 cells assemble a basement membrane-like layer containing laminin-α5. These findings indicate that MLE-15 cells will be useful in modeling basement membrane production and assembly by alveolar type II cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L1004-L1011
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number5 26-5
StatePublished - 2002


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Murine alveolar type II cells
  • Transforming growth factor-β


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