Microbial products alter the expression of membrane-associated mucin and antimicrobial peptides in a three-dimensional human endocervical epithelial cell model

Andrea L. Radtke, Alison J. Quayle, Melissa M. Herbst-Kralovetz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our understanding of the mechanisms that regulate tissuespecific mucosal defense can be limited by the lack of appropriate human in vitro models. The endocervix lies between the microbe-rich vaginal cavity and the relatively sterile endometrium and is a major portal of entry for Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Mycoplasma genitalium, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection in women. The endocervix is lined with a simple epithelium, and these cells produce mucus, which plays a key role in immune defense and reproduction. Here we describe the development of a human three-dimensional endocervical epithelial cell model generated by rotating wall vessel bioreactor technology. The model is composed of cellular aggregates that recapitulate major structural and barrier properties essential for the function and protection of the endocervix, including junctional complexes, microvilli, innate immune receptors, antimicrobial peptides, and mucins, the major structural component of mucus. Using this model, we also report, for the first time, that the membrane-associated mucin genes MUC1, MUC4, and MUC16 are differentially regulated in these aggregates by different bacterial and viral products. Differential induction of antimicrobial peptides was also observed with these products. Together these data define unique and flexible innate endocervical immune signatures that follow exposure to microbial products and that likely play a critical role in the outcome of pathogen challenge at this site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number132
JournalBiology of reproduction
Volume87
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

Keywords

  • 3-D organotypic epithelial cell (EC) model
  • Endocervix
  • Female reproductive tract
  • Innate immunity
  • Mucosal surfaces
  • Rotating wall vessel (RWV) bioreactor
  • Toll-like receptors (TLR)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology

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