Vectorial delivery of newly-synthesized secretory proteins by human tracheal gland cells in culture

Epithelial Cell Biol. 1993 Jul;2(3):91-9.


The polarized secretion of newly-synthesized proteins of human tracheal submucosal gland cells was studied. Human tracheal gland cells were cultured on permeable filter supports allowing a separate biochemical analysis of apical and basal secretion. By transmission electron microscopy, confluent filter-grown cells were seen to form a continuous sheet of both multilayer and monolayer epithelial cells. Junctional complexes between adjacent cells were observed. On immunofluorescence microscopy, human tracheal gland cells in cultured exhibited characteristics of epithelial and secretory cells, including cytoplasmic staining for cytokeratin and for two secretory protein markers specific to the glandular serous type cell: lysozyme and antileucoprotease. [35S]methionine metabolic labelling experiments demonstrated that at least 90% of newly-synthesized secretory proteins were recovered in the apical medium. Moreover, lysozyme secretion was strongly polarized since 85% was released into the apical medium. Conversely, antileucoprotease secretion was more bidirectional since nearly 40% of released antileucoprotease was present in the basal medium. The fact that these two secretory proteins are released with differing relative polarity emphasizes that human tracheal gland cells exhibit at least two different exocytotic routing operations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Polarity
  • Exocytosis
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Molecular Weight
  • Muramidase / metabolism*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Proteinase Inhibitory Proteins, Secretory
  • Proteins*
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors / metabolism*
  • Trachea / metabolism*


  • Proteinase Inhibitory Proteins, Secretory
  • Proteins
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • Muramidase