Uroguanylin and guanylate cyclase C in the human pancreas: expression and mutuality of ligand/receptor localization as indicators of intercellular paracrine signaling pathways
Journal of Endocrinology
The intestinal peptide hormone uroguanylin regulates electrolyte/fluid transport in the gastrointestinal epithelium by binding to its receptor, guanylate cyclase C (GC-C), and thus specifically coupling to activation of cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Since CFTR is crucially involved in pancreatic electrolyte secretion, we investigated the human pancreas for expression and cell-specific localization of uroguanylin and guanylate cyclase C as potential regulatory
... al regulatory components of pancreatic electrolyte secretion. RT-PCR analyses with specific primers revealed that uroguanylin and GC-C are expressed in the human pancreas (and in the duodenum, used as positive control); at the translational level, western blotting analyses with peptide-and regionspecific antibodies identified the presence of 12·5 kDa uroguanylin and 130 kDa GC-C in both human pancreatic and intestinal extracts. At the cellular level, uroguanylin and GC-C immunoreactivities were absent from the islets of Langerhans but were exclusively confined to the exocrine parenchyma. Hence, uroguanylin was localized to the centroacinar cells typical of the pancreas, and also to epithelial cells of the intercalated, intralobular and interlobular ducts where the peptide was primarily concentrated adluminally to the apical portion of the respective cells. Coincidently, correlative studies localized the GC-C receptor to the epithelial cells of the ductal network, where it was confined exclusively to the apical cell membrane that evidently represents the functionally relevant target membrane domain for the regulatory peptide. In view of the fact that CFTR is highly expressed in pancreatic ductal cells where uroguanylin and its receptor are also localized, we assume that uroguanylin, an intrinsic pancreatic peptide, is involved in the regulation of electrolyte/water secretion in the ductal system via GC-C and CFTR. The particular cellular expression of uroguanylin in duct cells and the localization of GC-C to the duct cell apical membrane domain predict a novel route of intercellular signaling and luminal activation of GC-C via the pancreatic juice.