Genome-wide microarray analyses identify the protein C receptor as a novel calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells-dependent gene in vascular smooth muscle cell phenotypic modulation.
ABSTRACT: 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: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: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:Platelet-derived growth factor BB (PDGF-BB) induced cyclin A expression and CDK2 activity in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). Inhibition of nuclear factors of activated T cell (NFAT) activation by cyclosporin A (CsA) and VIVIT suppressed PDGF-BB-induced cyclin A expression and CDK2 activity, resulting in blockade of VSMC in the G(1) phase. In addition, CsA- and VIVIT-mediated inhibition of NFATs and small interfering RNA-targeted down-regulation of cyclin A levels suppressed PDGF-BB-induced VSMC DNA synthesis. PDGF-BB also induced cyclin A mRNA levels in VSMC in an NFAT-dependent manner. Cloning and bioinformatic analysis of rat cyclin A promoter revealed the presence of NFAT-binding elements, and PDGF-BB induced the binding of NFATs to these regulatory sequences in a CsA- and VIVIT-sensitive manner. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis showed that NFATc1 binds to the cyclin A promoter in response to PDGF-BB in a VIVIT-sensitive manner. Furthermore, PDGF-BB induced cyclin A promoter-luciferase reporter gene activity in VSMC, and it was inhibited by both CsA and VIVIT. Balloon injury induced cyclin A expression and CDK2 activity in rat carotid arteries, and these responses were also blocked by VIVIT. In addition, VIVIT attenuated balloon injury-induced SMC proliferation, resulting in reduced restenosis. Down-regulation of NFATc1 by its small interfering RNA inhibited PDGF-BB-induced cyclin A expression and DNA synthesis both in rat and human VSMC. Together, these findings demonstrate that the cyclin A-CDK2 complex may be a potential effector of NFATs, specifically NFATc1, in mediating SMC multiplication leading to neointima formation. Therefore, NFATs may be used as target molecules for the development of therapeutic agents against vascular diseases such as restenosis.
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:Vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs) are in close contact with blood vessels. SMC phenotypes can be altered during pathological vascular remodeling. However, how SMC phenotypes affect EC properties remains largely unknown. In this study, we found that PDGF-BB-induced synthetic SMCs suppressed EC proliferation and migration while exhibiting increased expression of anti-angiogenic factors, such as endostatin, and decreased pro-angiogenic factors, including CXC motif ligand 1 (CXCL1). Cyclopentenyl cytosine (CPEC), a CTP synthase inhibitor that has been reported previously to inhibit SMC proliferation and injury-induced neointima formation, induced SMC redifferentiation. Interestingly, CPEC-conditioned SMC culture medium promoted EC proliferation and migration because of an increase in CXCL1 along with decreased endostatin production in SMCs. Addition of recombinant endostatin protein or blockade of CXCL1 with a neutralizing antibody suppressed the EC proliferation and migration induced by CPEC-conditioned SMC medium. Mechanistically, CPEC functions as a cytosine derivate to stimulate adenosine receptors A1 and A2a, which further activate downstream cAMP and Akt signaling, leading to the phosphorylation of cAMP response element binding protein and, consequently, SMC redifferentiation. These data provided proof of a novel concept that synthetic SMC exhibits an anti-angiogenic SMC phenotype, whereas contractile SMC shows a pro-angiogenic phenotype. CPEC appears to be a potent stimulator for switching the anti-angiogenic SMC phenotype to the pro-angiogenic phenotype, which may be essential for CPEC to accelerate re-endothelialization for vascular repair during injury-induced vascular wall remodeling.
Project description:Smooth muscle cell- (SMC-) based tissue engineering provides a promising therapeutic strategy for SMC-related disorders. It has been demonstrated that human dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) possess the potential to differentiate into mature bladder SMCs by induction with condition medium (CM) from bladder SMC culture, in combination with the transforming growth factor-?1 (TGF-?1). However, the molecular mechanism of SMC differentiation from DPSCs has not been fully uncovered. The canonical Wnt signaling (also known as Wnt/?-catenin) pathway plays an essential role in stem cell fate decision. The aim of this study is to explore the regulation via GSK3? and associated downstream effectors for SMC differentiation from DPSCs. We characterized one of our DPSC clones with the best proliferation and differentiation abilities. This stem cell clone has shown the capacity to generate a smooth muscle layer-like phenotype after an extended differentiation duration using the SMC induction protocol we established before. We further found that Wnt-GSK3?/?-catenin signaling is involved in the process of SMC differentiation from DPSCs, as well as a serial of growth factors, including TGF-?1, basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), platelet-derived growth factor-homodimer polypeptide of B chain (BB) (PDGF-BB), and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Pharmacological inhibition on the canonical Wnt-GSK3?/?-catenin pathway significantly downregulated GSK3? phosphorylation and ?-catenin activation, which in consequence reduced the augmented expression of the growth factors (including TGF-?1, HGF, PDGF-BB, and VEGF) as well as SMC markers (especially myosin) at a late stage of SMC differentiation. These results suggest that the canonical Wnt-GSK3?/?-catenin pathway contributes to DPSC differentiation into mature SMCs through the coordination of different growth factors.
Project description:Vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) from arterial stenotic-occlusive diseases is featured with deficiency in mitochondrial respiration and loss of cell contractility. However, the regulatory mechanism of mitochondrial genes and mitochondrial energy metabolism in SMC remains elusive. Here, we described that DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1) translocated to the mitochondria and catalyzed D-loop methylation of mitochondrial DNA in vascular SMCs in response to platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB). Mitochondrial-specific expression of DNMT1 repressed mitochondrial gene expression, caused functional damage, and reduced SMC contractility. Hypermethylation of mitochondrial D-loop regions were detected in the intima-media layer of mouse carotid arteries subjected to either cessation of blood flow or mechanical endothelial injury, and also in vessel specimens from patients with carotid occlusive diseases. Likewise, the ligated mouse arteries exhibited an enhanced mitochondrial binding of DNMT1, repressed mitochondrial gene expression, defects in mitochondrial respiration, and impaired contractility. The impaired contractility of a ligated vessel could be restored by ex vivo transplantation of DNMT1-deleted mitochondria. In summary, we discovered the function of DNMT1-mediated mitochondrial D-loop methylation in the regulation of mitochondrial gene transcription. Methylation of mitochondrial D-loop in vascular SMCs contributes to impaired mitochondrial function and loss of contractile phenotype in vascular occlusive disease.
Project description:Smooth muscle formation and function are critical in development and postnatal life. Hence, studies aimed at better understanding SMC differentiation are of great importance. Here, we report that multipotent adult progenitor cells (MAPCs) isolated from rat, murine, porcine, and human bone marrow demonstrate the potential to differentiate into cells with an SMC-like phenotype and function. TGF-beta1 alone or combined with PDGF-BB in serum-free medium induces a temporally correct expression of transcripts and proteins consistent with smooth muscle development. Furthermore, SMCs derived from MAPCs (MAPC-SMCs) demonstrated functional L-type calcium channels. MAPC-SMCs entrapped in fibrin vascular molds became circumferentially aligned and generated force in response to KCl, the L-type channel opener FPL64176, or the SMC agonists 5-HT and ET-1, and exhibited complete relaxation in response to the Rho-kinase inhibitor Y-27632. Cyclic distention (5% circumferential strain) for 3 weeks increased responses by 2- to 3-fold, consistent with what occurred in neonatal SMCs. These results provide evidence that MAPC-SMCs are phenotypically and functionally similar to neonatal SMCs and that the in vitro MAPC-SMC differentiation system may be an ideal model for the study of SMC development. Moreover, MAPC-SMCs may lend themselves to tissue engineering applications.
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:Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are key regulators of vascular disease and circulating smooth muscle progenitor cells may play important roles in vascular repair or remodelling. We developed enhanced protocols to derive smooth muscle progenitors from murine bone marrow and tested whether factors that are increased in atherosclerotic plaques, namely platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) and monomeric collagen, can influence the smooth muscle specific differentiation, proliferation, and survival of mouse bone marrow-derived progenitor cells. During a 21 day period of culture, bone marrow cells underwent a marked increase in expression of the SMC markers ?-SMA (1.93 ± 0.15 vs. 0.0008 ± 0.0003 (ng/ng GAPDH) at 0 d), SM22-? (1.50 ± 0.27 vs. 0.005 ± 0.001 (ng/ng GAPDH) at 0 d) and SM-MHC (0.017 ± 0.004 vs. 0.001 ± 0.001 (ng/ng GAPDH) at 0 d). Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) incorporation experiments showed that in early culture, the smooth muscle progenitor subpopulation could be identified by high proliferative rates prior to the expression of smooth muscle specific markers. Culture of fresh bone marrow or smooth muscle progenitor cells with PDGF-BB suppressed the expression of ?-SMA and SM22-?, in a rapidly reversible manner requiring PDGF receptor kinase activity. Progenitors cultured on polymerized collagen gels demonstrated expression of SMC markers, rates of proliferation and apoptosis similar to that of cells on tissue culture plastic; in contrast, cells grown on monomeric collagen gels displayed lower SMC marker expression, lower growth rates (319 ± 36 vs. 635 ± 97 cells/mm2), and increased apoptosis (5.3 ± 1.6% vs. 1.0 ± 0.5% (Annexin 5 staining)). Our data shows that the differentiation and survival of smooth muscle progenitors are critically affected by PDGF-BB and as well as the substrate collagen structure.