Caveolin-3 and eNOS colocalize and interact in ciliated airway epithelial cells in the rat

Gabriela Krasteva, Uwe Pfeil, Ana Maria Filip, Katrin S. Lips, Wolfgang Kummer, Peter König*

*Corresponding author for this work
13 Citations (Scopus)


In ciliated airway epithelial cells endothelial nitric oxide synthase as well as several other membrane bound proteins are located in the apical cell pole. To date, mechanisms that serve to target and to keep these proteins in this region are unknown. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase is known to target to caveolae by interaction with caveolin-1 or caveolin-3. Since caveolin-1 is found only in a subpopulation of ciliated cells at the basolateral cell membrane, we examined if caveolin-3 could be responsible for the apical localization of endothelial nitric oxide synthase in ciliated cells. We used real-time RT-PCR, laser-assisted microdissection, Western blotting and double-labeling immunohistochemistry to examine the presence of caveolin-3 in the airway epithelium of the rat. Indeed, we found caveolin-3-mRNA as well as protein in ciliated cells throughout the trachea and the bronchial tree. Caveolin-3-immunoreactivity was confined to the apical region and was colocalized with endothelial nitric oxide synthase and the high affinity choline transporter in a compartment distinct from the plasma membrane at the light microscopic level. No caveolae were found in the apical plasma membrane of ciliated cells but a tubulovesicular network was present in the apical region that reached up to the basal bodies of the cilia and was in close contact with mitochondria. Co-immunoprecipitation of caveolin-3 with endothelial nitric oxide synthase verified that both proteins interact in airway ciliated cells. These findings indicate that caveolin-3 is responsible to keep endothelial nitric oxide synthase in a membrane compartment in the apical region of ciliated cells.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)615-625
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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