Benzo(a)pyrene Enhanced Dermatophagoides Group 1 (Der f 1)-Induced TGFβ1 Signaling Activation Through the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor–RhoA Axis in Asthma

Eryi Wang, Wei Tu, Danh C. Do, Xiaojun Xiao, Shehar B. Bhatti, Liteng Yang, Xizhuo Sun, Damo Xu, Pingchang Yang, Shau Ku Huang, Peisong Gao, Zhigang Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We have previously demonstrated that benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) co-exposure with dermatophagoides group 1 allergen (Der f 1) can potentiate Der f 1-induced airway inflammation. The underlying mechanism, however, remains undetermined. Here we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the potentiation of BaP exposure on Der f 1-induced airway inflammation in asthma. We found that BaP co-exposure potentiated Der f 1-induced TGFβ1 secretion and signaling activation in human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs) and the airways of asthma mouse model. Moreover, BaP exposure alone or co-exposure with Der f 1-induced aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) activity was determined by using an AhR-dioxin-responsive element reporter plasmid. The BaP and Der f 1 co-exposure-induced TGFβ1 expression and signaling activation were attenuated by either AhR antagonist CH223191 or AhR knockdown in HBECs. Furthermore, AhR knockdown led to the reduction of BaP and Der f 1 co-exposure-induced active RhoA. Inhibition of RhoA signaling with fasudil, a RhoA/ROCK inhibitor, suppressed BaP and Der f 1 co-exposure-induced TGFβ1 expression and signaling activation. This was further confirmed in HBECs expressing constitutively active RhoA (RhoA-L63) or dominant-negative RhoA (RhoA-N19). Luciferase reporter assays showed prominently increased promoter activities for the AhR binding sites in the promoter region of RhoA. Inhibition of RhoA suppressed BaP and Der f 1 co-exposure-induced airway hyper-responsiveness, Th2-associated airway inflammation, and TGFβ1 signaling activation in asthma. Our studies reveal a previously unidentified functional axis of AhR–RhoA in regulating TGFβ1 expression and signaling activation, representing a potential therapeutic target for allergic asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number643260
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • aryl hydrocarbon receptor
  • BaP (6-benzylaminopurine)
  • Der f 1
  • RhoA
  • TGFβ1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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