Deletion of ATG5 shows a role of autophagy in salivary homeostatic control

M. Morgan-Bathke, H. H. Lin, A. M. Chibly, W. Zhang, X. Sun, C. H. Chen, P. Flodby, Z. Borok, R. Wu, D. Arnett, R. R. Klein, D. K. Ann, K. H. Limesand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Autophagy is a catabolic pathway utilized to maintain a balance among the synthesis, degradation, and recycling of cellular components, thereby playing a role in cell growth, development, and homeostasis. Previous studies revealed that a conditional knockout of essential member(s) of autophagy in a variety of tissues causes changes in structure and function of these tissues. Acinar cell-specific expression of knocked-in Cre recombinase through control of aquaporin 5 (Aqp5) promoter/enhancer (Aqp5-Cre) allows us to specifically inactivate Atg5, a protein necessary for autophagy, in salivary acinar cells of Atg5f/f;Aqp5-Cre mice. There was no difference in apoptotic or proliferation levels in salivary glands of Atg5/Cre mice from each genotype. However, H&E staining and electron microscopy studies revealed modestly enlarged acinar cells and accumulated secretory granules in salivary glands of Atg5f/f;Aqp5-Cre mice. Salivary flow rates and amylase contents of Atg5/Cre mice indicated that acinar-specific inactivation of ATG5 did not alter carbachol-evoked saliva and amylase secretion. Conversely, autophagy intersected with salivary morphological and secretory manifestations induced by isoproterenol administration. These results identified a role for autophagy as a homeostasis control in salivary glands. Collectively, Atg5f/f;Aqp5-Cre mice would be a useful tool to enhance our understanding of autophagy in adaptive responses following targeted head and neck radiation or Sjögren syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-917
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • animal models
  • apoptosis
  • isoproterenol
  • proliferation
  • salivary gland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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