Redox regulation of motile cilia in airway disease

Michael E. Price, Joseph H. Sisson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Motile cilia on airway cells are necessary for clearance of mucus-trapped particles out of the lung. Ciliated airway epithelial cells are uniquely exposed to oxidants through trapping of particles, debris and pathogens in mucus and the direct exposure to inhaled oxidant gases. Dynein ATPases, the motors driving ciliary motility, are sensitive to the local redox environment within each cilium. Several redox-sensitive cilia-localized proteins modulate dynein activity and include Protein Kinase A, Protein Kinase C, and Protein Phosphatase 1. Moreover, cilia are rich in known redox regulatory proteins and thioredoxin domain-containing proteins that are critical in maintaining a balanced redox environment. Importantly, a nonsense mutation in TXNDC3, which contains a thioredoxin motif, has recently been identified as disease-causing in Primary Ciliary Dyskinesia, a hereditary motile cilia disease resulting in impaired mucociliary clearance. Here we review current understanding of the role(s) oxidant species play in modifying airway ciliary function. We focus on oxidants generated in the airways, cilia redox targets that modulate ciliary beating and imbalances in redox state that impact health and disease. Finally, we review disease models such as smoking, asthma, alcohol drinking, and infections as well as the direct application of oxidants that implicate redox balance as a modulator of cilia motility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101146
JournalRedox Biology
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Alcohol
  • Cilia
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Nitric oxide
  • Redox regulation
  • S-nitrosation
  • Superoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organic Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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