Prominin 1 and Notch regulate ciliary length and dynamics in multiciliated cells of the airway epithelium. Academic Article uri icon


  • Differences in ciliary morphology and dynamics among multiciliated cells of the respiratory tract contribute to efficient mucociliary clearance. Nevertheless, little is known about how these phenotypic differences are established. We show that Prominin 1 (Prom1), a transmembrane protein widely used as stem cell marker, is crucial to this process. During airway differentiation, Prom1 becomes restricted to multiciliated cells, where it is expressed at distinct levels along the proximal-distal axis of the airways. Prom1 is induced by Notch in multiciliated cells, and Notch inactivation abolishes this gradient of expression. Prom1 was not required for multicilia formation, but when inactivated resulted in longer cilia that beat at a lower frequency. Disruption of Notch resulted in opposite effects and suggested that Notch fine-tunes Prom1 levels to regulate the multiciliated cell phenotype and generate diversity among these cells. This mechanism could contribute to the innate defense of the lung and help prevent pulmonary disease.

published proceedings

  • iScience

altmetric score

  • 1.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Serra, C., Liu, H., Qian, J., Mori, M., Lu, J., & Cardoso, W. V.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Serra, Carlos FH||Liu, Helu||Qian, Jun||Mori, Munemasa||Lu, Jining||Cardoso, Wellington V

publication date

  • August 2022