University Of Tasmania
Scientific Reports - Sohal - 2017.pdf (2.81 MB)
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β-catenin, Twist and Snail: Transcriptional regulation of EMT in smokers and COPD, and relation to airflow obstruction

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posted on 2023-05-19, 11:14 authored by Mahmood, MQ, Eugene WaltersEugene Walters, Shukla, SD, Weston, S, Muller, HK, Ward, C, Sukhwinder SohalSukhwinder Sohal
COPD is characterised by poorly reversible airflow obstruction usually due to cigarette smoking. The transcription factor clusters of β-catenin/Snail1/Twist has been implicated in the process of epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), an intermediate between smoking and airway fibrosis, and indeed lung cancer. We have investigated expression of these transcription factors and their "cellular localization" in bronchoscopic airway biopsies from patients with COPD, and in smoking and non-smoking controls. An immune-histochemical study compared cellular protein expression of β-catenin, Snail1 and Twist, in these subject groups in 3 large airways compartment: epithelium (basal region), reticular basement membrane (Rbm) and underlying lamina propria (LP). β-catenin and Snail1 expression was generally high in all subjects throughout the airway wall with marked cytoplasmic to nuclear shift in COPD (P < 0.01). Twist expression was generalised in the epithelium in normal but become more basal and nuclear with smoking (P < 0.05). In addition, β-catenin and Snail1 expression, and to lesser extent of Twist, was related to airflow obstruction and to expression of a canonical EMT biomarker (S100A4). The β-catenin-Snail1-Twist transcription factor cluster is up-regulated and nuclear translocated in smokers and COPD, and their expression is closely related to both EMT activity and airway obstruction.


Clifford Craig Foundation


Publication title

Scientific Reports



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Tasmanian School of Medicine


Nature Publishing Group

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

Copyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified

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