Changes in the balance of phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B (Akt) and the mitogen-activated protein kinases (ERK/p38MAPK) determine a phenotype of visceral and vascular smooth muscle cells.
ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms behind phenotypic modulation of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) remain unclear. In our recent paper, we reported the establishment of novel culture system of gizzard SMCs (Hayashi, K., H. Saga, Y. Chimori, K. Kimura, Y. Yamanaka, and K. Sobue. 1998. J. Biol. Chem. 273: 28860-28867), in which insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) was the most potent for maintaining the differentiated SMC phenotype, and IGF-I triggered the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-K) and protein kinase B (PKB(Akt)) pathway. Here, we investigated the signaling pathways involved in de-differentiation of gizzard SMCs induced by PDGF-BB, bFGF, and EGF. In contrast to the IGF-I-triggered pathway, PDGF-BB, bFGF, and EGF coordinately activated ERK and p38MAPK pathways. Further, the forced expression of active forms of MEK1 and MKK6, which are the upstream kinases of ERK and p38MAPK, respectively, induced de-differentiation even when SMCs were stimulated with IGF-I. Among three growth factors, PDGF-BB only triggered the PI3-K/PKB(Akt) pathway in addition to the ERK and p38MAPK pathways. When the ERK and p38MAPK pathways were simultaneously blocked by their specific inhibitors or an active form of either PI3-K or PKB(Akt) was transfected, PDGF-BB in turn initiated to maintain the differentiated SMC phenotype. We applied these findings to vascular SMCs, and demonstrated the possibility that the same signaling pathways might be involved in regulating the vascular SMC phenotype. These results suggest that changes in the balance between the PI3-K/PKB(Akt) pathway and the ERK and p38MAPK pathways would determine phenotypes of visceral and vascular SMCs. We further reported that SMCs cotransfected with active forms of MEK1 and MKK6 secreted a nondialyzable, heat-labile protein factor(s) which induced de-differentiation of surrounding normal SMCs.
Project description:Platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB is a well-known smooth muscle (SM) cell (SMC) phenotypic modulator that signals by binding to PDGF alphaalpha-, alphabeta-, and betabeta-membrane receptors. PDGF-DD is a recently identified PDGF family member, and its role in SMC phenotypic modulation is unknown. Here we demonstrate that PDGF-DD inhibited expression of multiple SMC genes, including SM alpha-actin and SM myosin heavy chain, and upregulated expression of the potent SMC differentiation repressor gene Kruppel-like factor-4 at the mRNA and protein levels. On the basis of the results of promoter-reporter assays, changes in SMC gene expression were mediated, at least in part, at the level of transcription. Attenuation of the SMC phenotypic modulatory activity of PDGF-DD by pharmacological inhibitors of ERK phosphorylation and by a small interfering RNA to Kruppel-like factor-4 highlight the role of these two pathways in this process. PDGF-DD failed to repress SM alpha-actin and SM myosin heavy chain in mouse SMCs lacking a functional PDGF beta-receptor. Importantly, PDGF-DD expression was increased in neointimal lesions in the aortic arch region of apolipoprotein C-deficient (ApoE(-/-)) mice. Furthermore, human endothelial cells exposed to an atherosclerosis-prone flow pattern, as in vascular regions susceptible to the development of atherosclerosis, exhibited a significant increase in PDGF-DD expression. These findings demonstrate a novel activity for PDGF-DD in SMC biology and highlight the potential contribution of this molecule to SMC phenotypic modulation in the setting of disturbed blood flow.
Project description:The tonicity-responsive transcription factor, nuclear factor of activated T cells 5 (NFAT5/tonicity enhancer binding protein [TonEBP]), has been well characterized in numerous cell types; however, NFAT5 function in vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) is unknown. Our main objective was to determine the role of NFAT5 regulation in SMCs.We showed that NFAT5 is regulated by hypertonicity in SMCs and is upregulated in atherosclerosis and neointimal hyperplasia. RNAi knockdown of NFAT5 inhibited basal expression of several SMC differentiation marker genes, including smooth muscle ? actin (SM?A). Bioinformatic analysis of SM?A revealed 7 putative NFAT5 binding sites in the first intron, and chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis showed NFAT5 enrichment of intronic DNA. Overexpression of NFAT5 increased SM?A promoter-intron activity, which requires an NFAT5 cis element at +1012, whereas dominant-negative NFAT5 decreased SM?A promoter-intron activity. Because it is unlikely that SMCs experience extreme changes in tonicity, we investigated other stimuli and uncovered 2 novel NFAT5-inducing factors: angiotensin II, a contractile agonist, and platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB), a potent mitogen in vascular injury. Angiotensin II stimulated NFAT5 translocation and activity, and NFAT5 knockdown inhibited an angiotensin II-mediated upregulation of SM?A mRNA. PDGF-BB increased NFAT5 protein, and loss of NFAT5 inhibited PDGF-BB-induced SMC migration.We have identified NFAT5 as a novel regulator of SMC phenotypic modulation and have uncovered the role of NFAT5 in angiotensin II-induced SM?A expression and PDGF-BB-stimulated SMC migration.
Project description:In this study we demonstrate that CD34(+) cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have higher smooth muscle cell (SMC) potential than CD34(-) cells. We report that from all inductive signals tested, retinoic acid (RA) and platelet derived growth factor (PDGF(BB)) are the most effective agents in guiding the differentiation of CD34(+) cells into smooth muscle progenitor cells (SMPCs) characterized by the expression of SMC genes and proteins, secretion of SMC-related cytokines, contraction in response to depolarization agents and vasoactive peptides and expression of SMC-related genes in a 3D environment. These cells are also characterized by a low organization of the contractile proteins and the contractility response is mediated by Ca(2+), which involves the activation of Rho A/Rho kinase- and Ca(2+)/calmodulin (CaM)/myosin light chain kinase (MLCK)-dependent pathways. We further show that SMPCs obtained from the differentiation of CD34(+) cells with RA, but not with PDGF(BB,) can be maturated in medium supplemented with endothelin-1 showing at the end individualized contractile filaments. Overall the hESC-derived SMCs presented in this work might be an unlimited source of SMCs for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Project description:Calcineurin (Cn) and the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) family of transcription factors are critical in vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) development and pathology. Here, we used a genomics approach to identify and validate NFAT gene targets activated during platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB)-induced SMC phenotypic modulation.Genome-wide expression arrays were used to identify genes both (1) differentially activated in response to PDGF-BB and (2) whose differential expression was reduced by both the Cn inhibitor cyclosporin A and the NFAT inhibitor A-285222. The 20 most pharmacologically sensitive genes were validated by quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis of PDGF-BB-stimulated SMCs in the presence of Cn/NFAT inhibitors, including the VIVIT peptide. In all experiments, protein C receptor (PROCR) gene activation was reduced. We showed that PROCR expression was virtually absent in untreated, quiescent SMCs. PDGF-BB stimulation, however, induced significant PROCR promoter activation and downstream protein expression in a Cn/NFAT-dependent manner. Mutation of a species-conserved, NFAT binding motif significantly attenuated PDGF-BB-induced PROCR promoter activity, thereby distinguishing NFAT as the first PROCR transcriptional activator to date. Moreover, SMC PROCR expression was upregulated in the neointima as early as 7 days following acute vascular injury in rat carotid arteries.We hereby report PROCR as a novel, NFAT-dependent gene that may be implicated in vascular restenosis and consequent inward remodeling.
Project description:We have previously demonstrated that histone deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) expression and splicing play an important role in smooth muscle cell (SMC) differentiation from embryonic stem (ES) cells, but the molecular mechanisms of increased HDAC7 expression during SMC differentiation are currently unknown. In this study, we found that platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) induced a 3-fold increase in the transcripts of HDAC7 in differentiating ES cells. Importantly, our data also revealed that PDGF-BB regulated HDAC7 expression not through phosphorylation of HDAC7 but through transcriptional activation. By dissecting its promoters with progressive deletion analysis, we identified the sequence between -343 and -292 bp in the 5'-flanking region of the Hdac7 gene promoter as the minimal PDGF-BB-responsive element, which contains one binding site for the transcription factor, specificity protein 1 (Sp1). Mutation of the Sp1 site within this PDGF-BB-responsive element abolished PDGF-BB-induced HDAC7 activity. PDGF-BB treatment enhanced Sp1 binding to the Hdac7 promoter in differentiated SMCs in vivo as demonstrated by the chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Moreover, we also demonstrated that knockdown of Sp1 abrogated PDGF-BB-induced HDAC7 up-regulation and SMC differentiation gene expression in differentiating ES cells, although enforced expression of Sp1 alone was sufficient to increase the activity of the Hdac7 promoter and expression levels of SMC differentiation genes. Importantly, we further demonstrated that HDAC7 was required for Sp1-induced SMC differentiation of gene expression. Our data suggest that Sp1 plays an important role in the regulation of Hdac7 gene expression in SMC differentiation from ES cells. These findings provide novel molecular insights into the regulation of HDAC7 and enhance our knowledge in SMC differentiation and vessel formation during embryonic development.
Project description:The phenotype of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) plays an important role in vascular function in health and disease. We investigated the mechanism of modulation of SMC phenotype (from contractile to synthetic) induced by the synergistic action of a growth factor (platelet-derived growth factor, PDGF-BB) and a cytokine (interleukin, IL-1beta). Human aortic SMCs grown on polymerized collagen showed high expression levels of contractile markers (smooth muscle alpha-actin, myosin heavy chain, and calponin). These levels were not significantly affected by PDGF-BB and IL-1beta individually, but decreased markedly after the combined usage of PDGF-BB and IL-1beta. PDGF/IL-1beta costimulation also induced a sustained phosphorylation of Akt and p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6K). The effects of PDGF/IL-1beta costimulation on contractile marker expression and Akt and p70S6K phosphorylation were blocked by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase inhibitors wortmannin and LY294002 and by adenovirus expressing a dominant-negative Akt, and they were mimicked by constitutively active Akt. PDGF-BB/IL-1beta induced a sustained phosphorylation of PDGF receptor (PDGFR)-beta and its association with IL-1 receptor (IL-1R1). Such activation and association of receptors were blocked by a PDGFR-beta neutralizing antibody (AF385), an IL-1R1 antagonist (IL-1ra), as well as a specific inhibitor of PDGFR-beta phosphorylation (AG1295); these agents also eliminated the PDGF-BB/IL-1beta-induced signaling and phenotypic modulation. PDGF-BB/IL-1beta inhibited the polymerized collagen-induced serum response factor DNA binding activity in the nucleus, and this effect was mediated by the PDGFR-beta/IL-1R1 association and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/p70S6K pathway. Our findings provide insights into the mechanism of SMC phenotypic modulation from contractile to synthetic, e.g., in atherosclerosis.
Project description:<h4>Aims</h4>During atherosclerosis, smooth muscle cells (SMCs) accumulate in the intima where they switch from a contractile to a synthetic phenotype. From porcine coronary artery, we isolated spindle-shaped (S) SMCs exhibiting features of the contractile phenotype and rhomboid (R) SMCs typical of the synthetic phenotype. S100A4 was identified as a marker of R-SMCs in vitro and intimal SMCs, in pig and man. S100A4 exhibits intra- and extracellular functions. In this study, we investigated the role of extracellular S100A4 in SMC phenotypic transition.<h4>Methods and results</h4>S-SMCs were treated with oligomeric recombinant S100A4 (oS100A4), which induced nuclear factor (NF)-κB activation. Treatment of S-SMCs with oS100A4 in combination with platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB induced a complete SMC transition towards a pro-inflammatory R-phenotype associated with NF-κB activation, through toll-like receptor-4. RNA sequencing of cells treated with oS100A4/PDGF-BB revealed a strong up-regulation of pro-inflammatory genes and enrichment of transcription factor binding sites essential for SMC phenotypic transition. In a mouse model of established atherosclerosis, neutralization of extracellular S100A4 decreased area of atherosclerotic lesions, necrotic core, and CD68 expression and increased α-smooth muscle actin and smooth muscle myosin heavy chain expression.<h4>Conclusion</h4>We suggest that the neutralization of extracellular S100A4 promotes the stabilization of atherosclerotic plaques. Extracellular S100A4 could be a new target to influence the evolution of atherosclerotic plaques.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>The objective of this study is to determine the role of SPA (surfactant protein A) in vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotypic modulation and vascular remodeling. Approach and Results: PDGF-BB (Platelet-derived growth factor-BB) and serum induced SPA expression while downregulating SMC marker gene expression in SMCs. SPA deficiency increased the contractile protein expression. Mechanistically, SPA deficiency enhanced the expression of myocardin and TGF (transforming growth factor)-β, the key regulators for contractile SMC phenotype. In vivo, SPA was induced in medial and neointimal SMCs following mechanical injury in both rat and mouse carotid arteries. SPA knockout in mice dramatically attenuated the wire injury-induced intimal hyperplasia while restoring SMC contractile protein expression in medial SMCs. These data indicate that SPA plays an important role in SMC phenotype modulation and vascular remodeling in vivo.<h4>Conclusions</h4>SPA is a novel protein factor modulating SMC phenotype. Blocking the abnormal elevation of SPA may be a potential strategy to inhibit the development of proliferative vascular diseases.
Project description:Unlike other terminally differentiated cell types, vascular SMCs display remarkable phenotypic plasticity. The adult, differentiated state is traditionally defined by expression of well-characterized SMC contractile genes. Extracellular cues, however, can induce contractile SMCs to remodel toward a synthetic state characterized by a spectrum of proliferative, migratory, and inflammatory phenotypes. We used whole-genome expression arrays to to identify genes associated with SMC phenotypic modulation. Experiment Overall Design: Rat aortic SMCs were serum-starved for 72 hours and subsequently treated with either PDGF-BB or its respective vehicle (n=2). RNA samples were hybridzed to Affymetrix arrays with the intent to identify early genes associated with SMC phenotypic modulation.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) migration within the arterial wall is a crucial event in atherogenesis and restenosis. Monocyte chemotactic protein-1/CC-chemokine receptor 2 (MCP-1/CCR2) signalling is involved in SMC migration processes but the molecular mechanisms have not been well characterized. We investigated the role of PI3K? in SMC migration induced by MCP-1. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACHES: A pharmacological PI3K? inhibitor, adenovirus encoding inactive forms of PI3K? and genetic deletion of PI3K? were used to investigate PI3K? functions in the MCP-1 and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signalling pathway and migration process in primary aortic SMC. KEY RESULTS: The ? isoform of PI3K was shown to be the major signalling molecule mediating PKB phosphorylation in MCP-1-stimulated SMC. Using a PI3K? inhibitor and an adenovirus encoding a dominant negative form of PI3K?, we demonstrated that PI3K? is essential for SMC migration triggered by MCP-1. PDGF receptor stimulation induced MCP-1 mRNA and protein accumulation in SMCs. Blockade of the MCP-1/CCR2 pathway or pharmacological inhibition of PI3K? reduced PDGF-stimulated aortic SMC migration by 50%. Thus PDGF promotes an autocrine loop involving MCP-1/CCR2 signalling which is required for PDGF-mediated SMC migration. Furthermore, SMCs isolated from PI3K?-deficient mice (PI3K?(-/-)), or mice expressing an inactive PI3K? (PI3K?(KD/KD)), migrated less than control cells in response to MCP-1 and PDGF. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: PI3K? is essential for MCP-1-stimulated aortic SMC migration and amplifies cell migration induced by PDGF by an autocrine/paracrine loop involving MCP-1 secretion and CCR2 activation. PI3K? is a promising target for the treatment of aortic fibroproliferative pathologies.