The club cell marker SCGB1A1 downstream of FOXA2 is reduced in asthma

Lingxiang Zhu, Lingling An, Di Ran, Rosa Lizarraga, Cheryl Bondy, Xu Zhou, Richart W. Harper, Shu Yi Liao, Yin Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Human SCGB1A1 protein has been shown to be significantly reduced in BAL, sputum, and serum from humans with asthma as compared with healthy individuals. However, the mechanism of this reduction and its functional impact have not been entirely elucidated. By mining online datasets, we found that themRNAof SCGB1A1 was significantly repressed in brushed human airway epithelial cells from individuals with asthma, and this repression appeared to be associated with reduced expression of FOXA2. Consistently, both Scgb1A1 and FoxA2 were downregulated in an ovalbumin-induced mouse model of asthma. Furthermore, compared with wild-type mice, Scgb1a1 knockout mice had increased airway hyperreactivity and inflammation when they were exposed to ovalbumin, confirming the antiinflammatory role of Scgb1a1 in protection against asthma phenotypes. To search for potential asthma-related stimuli of SCGB1A1 repression, we tested T-helper cell type 2 cytokines. Both IL-4 and IL-13 repressed epithelial expression of SCGB1A1 and FOXA2. Importantly, infection of epithelial cells with human rhinovirus similarly reduced expression of these two genes, which suggests that FOXA2 may be the common regulator of SCGB1A1. To establish the causal role of reduced FOXA2 in SCGB1A1 repression, we demonstrated that FOXA2 was required for SCGB1A1 expression at baseline. FOXA2 overexpression was sufficient to drive promoter activity and expression of SCGB1A1 and was also able to restore the repressed SCGB1A1 expression in IL-13-treated or rhinovirus-infected cells. Taken together, these findings suggest that low levels of epithelial SCGB1A1 in asthma are caused by reduced FOXA2 expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-704
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2019


  • Asthma
  • CC10
  • FOXA2
  • Rhinovirus
  • Secretoglobin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'The club cell marker SCGB1A1 downstream of FOXA2 is reduced in asthma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this