Get access

Role of bombesin receptor activated protein in the antigen presentation by human bronchial epithelial cells


  • Xiangping Qu and Menglan Li contributed equally to this work.

  • None of the authors have a financial interest to this work and none of the authors have any conflict of interest to declare for this work.


Bombesin receptor activated protein (BRAP) was identified in a bacterial two-hybrid screen for proteins interacting with bombesin receptor subtype-3 (BRS-3). We found that BRAP is widely expressed in the airway epithelium of human lungs and may play a role during the stress response of lung epithelium. In this work, we explored the potential roles of BRAP in the antigen presenting function of human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs). Overexpression of a BRAP recombinant protein in a human bronchial epithelial cell line resulted in a reduction of FITC-OVA uptake by HBECs, which indicated that the antigen uptake ability is inhibited. The analysis of the protein expression of surface molecules including B7 homologs and the major histocompactability complex (MHC) class II molecules showed that the expression levels of HLA-DR and B7DC increased while the levels of B7-H1 and B7.2 decreased. Since those surface molecules are all related to antigen presenting process, the altered expression pattern of those molecules provides further evidence showing that BRAP overexpression leads to a change in antigen presenting function of HBECs. Moreover, overexpression of BRAP in HBECs caused a decrease of co-cultured lymphocytes proliferation and a changed pattern of cytokines produced by lymphocytes in the presence of FITC-OVA, which indicated that changes in the maturation pattern and functions of co-cultured lymphocytes were induced by BRAP overexpression. Overall, our results suggested that overexpression of BRAP may play a role during the antigen presenting process of bronchial epithelium by inhibiting the antigen uptake ability of bronchial epithelial cells. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 238–244, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.