Mouse mast cells (MCs) express a large number of serine proteases including tryptases, mouse mast cell protease (mMCP)-6 and -7; chymases, mMCP-1, -2, and -4; and an elastase, mMCP-5; along with carboxypeptidase-A3 (CPA3). In helminth-infected mouse intestine, distinct protease phenotypes are observed for connective tissue MCs (CTMCs) (mMCP-4+–7+, and CPA3+) and mucosal MCs (MMCs) (mMCP-1+ and 2+). To determine whether the protease phenotype was regulated by the tissue, we compared the phenotype of constitutive CTMCs and induced MMCs in trachea and large airways in antigen-sensitized unchallenged and challenged mice to MCs in skin and helminthic-infected intestine. We found that in the trachea, unlike in skin and intestine, CTMCs and MMCs both express all six serine proteases and CPA3 (mMCP-1+, -2+, 4+–7+, CPA3+). This phenotype also holds for the lung CTMCs in the proximal bronchi, whereas the induced MMCs express only four proteases, mMCP-1, -2, -6, and -7. Thus, the T-cell–dependent induction of MMCs in trachea, large bronchi, and small intestine provides numbers but does not determine the protease phenotype. Furthermore, the CTMCs, which are constitutive, also show striking differences at these tissue sites, supporting the view that the differences in expression are tissue directed and not dependent on inflammation
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