Cilia are finger-like motor-driven organelles, which propel inhaled particles and mucus from the lung and airways. We have previously shown that brief alcohol exposure stimulates ciliary motility through an endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)-dependent pathway localized in the ciliary metabolon. However, the signaling molecules of the ciliary metabolon involved in alcohol-triggered ciliary beat frequency (CBF) stimulation upstream of eNOS activation remain unknown.Methods
We hypothesized that brief alcohol exposure alters threonine and serine phosphorylation of proteins involved in stimulating CBF. Two-dimensional electrophoresis indicated both increases and decreases in the serine and threonine phosphorylation states of several proteins. One of the proteins identified was heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), which undergoes increased threonine phosphorylation after brief alcohol exposure. Because HSP90 has been shown to associate with eNOS in lung tissue, we hypothesized that HSP90 is a key component in alcohol-triggered eNOS activation and that these 2 proteins co-localize within the ciliary metabolon.Results
Immunofluorescence experiments demonstrate that eNOS and HSP90 co-localize within basal bodies of the ciliary metabolon and partially translocate to the axoneme upon brief alcohol exposure. Pretreatment with geldanamycin, which disrupts HSP90 chaperone functions, prevented eNOS-HSP90 association and prevented the translocation of eNOS from the ciliary metabolon to the axoneme. Functional cilia motility studies revealed that geldanamycin blocked alcohol-stimulated ciliary motility in bovine bronchial epithelial cells and mouse tracheal rings.Conclusions
On the basis of the HSP90 localization with eNOS, alcohol activation of HSP90 phosphorylation, and geldanamycin's ability to inhibit HSP90-eNOS association, prevent eNOS translocation to the axoneme, and block alcohol-stimulated ciliary motility, we conclude that alcohol-induced cilia stimulation occurs through the increased association of HSP90 with eNOS. These data help further elucidate the mechanism through which brief alcohol exposure stimulates CBF.