European Respiratory Society

Discoidin domain receptor 1 regulates bronchial epithelial repair and matrix metalloproteinase production

M.E. Roberts, L. Magowan, I.P. Hall, S.R. Johnson


Discoidin domain receptor (DDR)1 is an extracellular matrix (ECM)-sensing receptor tyrosine kinase, which is activated by collagen and expressed in bronchial epithelium. DDR1 is responsible for maintaining the normal structure of skin and kidney epithelia and we hypothesised that DDR1 plays a regulatory role in bronchial epithelial integrity by transducing signals from the airway ECM.

Effects of DDR1 depletion were studied using RNA interference in primary human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) and BEAS-2B cells. The effects of overexpression of DDR1a and DDR1b in BEAS-2B cells were studied using a plasmid vector. We measured the effects on epithelial repair using a scratch wounding model, and levels of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) by gelatin zymography (MMP-2 and -9) and ELISA (MMP-7).

We showed that knockdown of DDR1 slowed epithelial repair by 50%, which was associated with a reduction in levels of MMP-7, whilst DDR1 overexpression enhanced epithelial repair. DDR1 knockdown reduced proliferation of HBECs, but had no significant effect on adhesion to collagen I or other matrix substrates.

These data suggest that ECM signalling via DDR1 regulates aspects of bronchial epithelial repair, integrity and MMP expression in the airways.


  • Support Statement

    The University of Nottingham and Nottingham Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit (Nottingham, UK) supported the investigators during the project.

  • Statement of Interest

    None declared.

  • Received March 12, 2010.
  • Accepted September 15, 2010.
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