Depletion of epithelial cells after lung injury prompts proliferation and epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT) of progenitor cells, and this repopulates the lost epithelial layer. To investigate the cell proliferative function of human oncoprotein MDM2, we generated mouse models targeting human MDM2 expression in either lung Club or alveolar cells after doxycycline treatment. We report that MDM2 expression in lung Club or alveolar cells activates DNA replication specifically in lung progenitor cells only after chemical- or radiation-induced lung injury, irrespective of their p53 status. Activation of DNA replication by MDM2 triggered by injury leads to proliferation of lung progenitor cells and restoration of the lost epithelial layers. Mouse lung with no Mdm2 allele loses its ability to replicate DNA, whereas loss of 1 Mdm2 allele compromises this function, demonstrating the requirement of endogenous MDM2. We show that the p53-independent ability of MDM2 to activate Akt signaling is essential for initiating DNA replication in lung progenitor cells. Furthermore, MDM2 activates the Notch signaling pathway and expression of EMT markers, indicative of epithelial regeneration. This is the first report to our knowledge demonstrating a direct p53-independent participation of MDM2 in progenitor cell proliferation and epithelial repair after lung injury, distinct from a p53-degrading antiapoptotic effect preventing injury.
Shilpa Singh, Catherine A. Vaughan, Christopher Rabender, Ross Mikkelsen, Sumitra Deb, Swati Palit Deb
Generation of transgenic mice expressing human MDM2 in CCSP-expressing lung cells in response to Doxycycline (Dox).