Date of Award

9-28-2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Jack Elias

Abstract

In this study, we hypothesize that human acidic mammalian chitinase (AMCase) binds and is regulated by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and that AMCase interacts with Galectin-3 (Gal-3) to mediate anti-apoptotic functions. We further hypothesize that asthma-associated polymorphisms of AMCase alter chitinase activity and modulate anti-apoptotic effects. We investigated the interactions between AMCase, Gal-3 and EGFR by establishing binding and co-expression in vitro; apoptotic effects were evaluated via Annexin V/Propidium Iodide staining. Molecular cloning was performed to generate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of AMCase associated with asthma. Our data showed that co-expression of AMCase and EGFR induces chitinase activity; we found that AMCase and Gal-3 bind each other in vitro, and that they co-localize in the cytoplasm of cells. Co-transfection of AMCase and Gal-3 demonstrates greater anti-apoptotic effect than Gal-3 alone, while recombinant Gal-3 induces apoptosis, which is not blocked by incubation with recombinant AMCase. From these data, we conclude that AMCase is regulated by EGFR, and that AMCase and Gal-3 physically interact, however contrary to our hypothesis, the anti-apoptotic effects of AMCase are unlikely to be mediated by Gal-3. Further exploration of this pathway using SNP constructs generated in this study will shed light on the mechanism of AMCase in asthma.

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