The Epac-Rap1 signaling pathway controls cAMP-mediated exocytosis of Weibel-Palade bodies in endothelial cells.
ABSTRACT: Endothelial cells contain specialized storage organelles called Weibel-Palade bodies (WPBs) that release their content into the vascular lumen in response to specific agonists that raise intracellular Ca(2+) or cAMP. We have previously shown that cAMP-mediated WPB release is dependent on protein kinase A (PKA) and involves activation of the small GTPase RalA. Here, we have investigated a possible role for another PKA-independent cAMP-mediated signaling pathway in the regulation of WPB exocytosis, namely the guanine nucleotide exchange factor Epac1 and its substrate, the small GTPase Rap1. Epinephrine stimulation of endothelial cells leads to Rap1 activation in a PKA-independent fashion. siRNA-mediated knockdown of Epac1 abolished epinephrine-induced activation of Rap1 and resulted in decreased epinephrine-induced WPB exocytosis. Down-regulation of Rap1 expression and prevention of Rap1 activation through overexpression of Rap1GAP effectively reduced epinephrine- but not thrombin-induced WPB exocytosis. Taken together, these data uncover a new Epac-Rap1-dependent pathway by which endothelial cells can regulate WPB exocytosis in response to agonists that signal through cAMP.
Project description:Agonist activation of the small GTPase, RhoA, and its effector Rho kinase leads to down-regulation of smooth muscle (SM) myosin light chain phosphatase activity, an increase in myosin light chain (RLC(20)) phosphorylation and force. Cyclic nucleotides can reverse this process. We report a new mechanism of cAMP-mediated relaxation through Epac, a GTP exchange factor for the small GTPase Rap1 resulting in an increase in Rap1 activity and suppression of RhoA activity. An Epac-selective cAMP analog, 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP ("007"), significantly reduced agonist-induced contractile force, RLC(20), and myosin light chain phosphatase phosphorylation in both intact and permeabilized vascular, gut, and airway SMs independently of PKA and PKG. The vasodilator PGI(2) analog, cicaprost, increased Rap1 activity and decreased RhoA activity in intact SMs. Forskolin, phosphodiesterase inhibitor isobutylmethylxanthine, and isoproterenol also significantly increased Rap1-GTP in rat aortic SM cells. The PKA inhibitor H89 was without effect on the 007-induced increase in Rap1-GTP. Lysophosphatidic acid-induced RhoA activity was reduced by treatment with 007 in WT but not Rap1B null fibroblasts, consistent with Epac signaling through Rap1B to down-regulate RhoA activity. Isoproterenol-induced increase in Rap1 activity was inhibited by silencing Epac1 in rat aortic SM cells. Evidence is presented that cooperative cAMP activation of PKA and Epac contribute to relaxation of SM. Our findings demonstrate a cAMP-mediated signaling mechanism whereby activation of Epac results in a PKA-independent, Rap1-dependent Ca(2+) desensitization of force in SM through down-regulation of RhoA activity. Cyclic AMP inhibition of RhoA is mediated through activation of both Epac and PKA.
Project description:Rap1 is a member of the Ras superfamily of small GTP-binding proteins and is localized on pancreatic zymogen granules. The current study was designed to determine whether GTP-Rap1 is involved in the regulation of amylase secretion. Rap1A/B and the two Rap1 guanine nucleotide exchange factors, Epac1 and CalDAG-GEF III, were identified in mouse pancreatic acini. A fraction of both Rap1 and Epac1 colocalized with amylase in zymogen granules, but only Rap1 was integral to the zymogen granule membranes. Stimulation with cholecystokinin (CCK), carbachol, and vasoactive intestinal peptide all induced Rap1 activation, as did calcium ionophore A23187, phorbol ester, forskolin, 8-bromo-cyclic AMP, and the Epac-specific cAMP analog 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP. The phospholipase C inhibitor U-73122 abolished carbachol- but not forskolin-induced Rap1 activation. Co-stimulation with carbachol and 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP led to an additive effect on Rap1 activation, whereas a synergistic effect was seen on amylase release. Although the protein kinase A inhibitor H-89 abolished forskolin-stimulated CREB phosphorylation, it did not modify forskolin-induced GTP-Rap1 levels, excluding PKA participation. Overexpression of Rap1 GTPase-activating protein, which blocked Rap1 activation, reduced the effect of 8-bromo-cyclic AMP, 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP, and vasoactive intestinal peptide on amylase release by 60% and reduced CCK- as well as carbachol-stimulated pancreatic amylase release by 40%. These findings indicate that GTP-Rap1 is required for pancreatic amylase release. Rap1 activation not only mediates the cAMP-evoked response via Epac1 but is also involved in CCK- and carbachol-induced amylase release, with their action most likely mediated by CalDAG-GEF III.
Project description:cAMP regulates a wide range of processes through its downstream effectors including PKA, and the family of guanine nucleotide exchange factors. Depending on the cell type, cAMP inhibits or stimulates growth and proliferation in a PKA-dependent or independent manner. PKA-independent effects are mediated by PI 3-kinases-Akt signaling and EPAC1 (exchange protein directly activated by cAMP) activation. Recently, we reported PKA-independent activation of the protein kinase Akt as well co-immunoprecipitation of Epac1 with Rap1, p-Akt(Thr-308), and p-Akt(Ser-473) in forskolin-stimulated macrophages. To further probe the role of Epac1 in Akt protein kinase activation and cellular proliferation, we employed the cAMP analog 8-CPT-2-O-Me-cAMP, which selectively binds to Epac1 and triggers Epac1 signaling. We show the association of Epac1 with activated Akt kinases by co-immunoprecipitation and GST-pulldown assays. Silencing Epac1 gene expression by RNA interference significantly reduced levels of Epac1 mRNA, Epac protein, Rap1 GTP, p-ERK1/2, p-B-Raf, p110alpha catalytic subunit of PI 3-kinase, p-PDK, and p-p(70s6k). Silencing Epac1 gene expression by RNA interference also suppressed 8-CPT-2-O-Me-cAMP-upregulated protein and DNA synthesis. Concomitantly, 8-CPT-2-O-Me-cAMP-mediated upregulation of Akt(Thr-308) protein kinase activity and p-Akt(Thr-308) levels was prevented in plasma membranes and nuclei of the cells. In contrast, silencing Epac1 gene expression reduced Akt(Ser-473) kinase activity and p-Akt(Ser-473) levels in plasma membranes, but showed negligible effects on nuclear activity. In conclusion, we show that cAMP-induced Akt kinase activation and cellular proliferation is mediated by Epac1 which appears to function as an accessory protein for Akt activation.
Project description:Chronic stress has been associated with the progression of cancer and antagonists for ?-adrenoceptors (?AR) are regarded as therapeutic option. As they are also used to treat hemangiomas as well as retinopathy of prematurity, a role of endothelial ?2AR in angiogenesis can be envisioned. We therefore investigated the role of ?2AR-induced cAMP formation by analyzing the role of the cAMP effector molecules exchange factor directly activated by cAMP 1 (Epac1) and protein kinase A (PKA) in endothelial cells (EC). Epac1-deficient mice showed a reduced amount of pre-retinal neovascularizations in the model of oxygen-induced retinopathy, which is predominantly driven by vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). siRNA-mediated knockdown of Epac1 in human umbilical vein EC (HUVEC) decreased angiogenic sprouting by lowering the expression of the endothelial VEGF-receptor-2 (VEGFR-2). Conversely, Epac1 activation by ?2AR stimulation or the Epac-selective activator cAMP analog 8-p-CPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP (8-pCPT) increased VEGFR-2 levels and VEGF-dependent sprouting. Similar to Epac1 knockdown, depletion of the monomeric GTPase Rac1 decreased VEGFR-2 expression. As Epac1 stimulation induces Rac1 activation, Epac1 might regulate VEGFR-2 expression through Rac1. In addition, we found that PKA was also involved in the regulation of angiogenesis in EC since the adenylyl cyclase (AC) activator forskolin (Fsk), but not 8-pCPT, increased sprouting in Epac1-depleted HUVEC and this increase was sensitive to a selective synthetic peptide PKA inhibitor. In accordance, ?2AR- and AC-activation, but not Epac1 stimulation increased VEGF secretion in HUVEC.Our data indicate that high levels of catecholamines, which occur during chronic stress, prime the endothelium for angiogenesis through a ?2AR-mediated increase in endothelial VEGFR-2 expression and VEGF secretion.
Project description:Epac1 (exchange protein directly activated by cyclic AMP [cAMP]) couples intracellular cAMP to the activation of Rap1, a Ras family GTPase that regulates cell adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation. Using mass spectrometry, we identified the small G protein Ran and Ran binding protein 2 (RanBP2) as potential binding partners of Epac1. Ran is a small G protein best known for its role in nuclear transport and can be found at the nuclear pore through its interaction with RanBP2. Here we demonstrate that Ran-GTP and Epac1 interact with each other in vivo and in vitro. This binding requires a previously uncharacterized Ras association (RA) domain in Epac1. Surprisingly, the interaction of Epac1 with Ran is necessary for the efficient activation of Rap1 by Epac1. We propose that Ran and RanBP2 anchor Epac1 to the nuclear pore, permitting cAMP signals to activate Rap1 at the nuclear envelope.
Project description:Weibel-Palade bodies (WPB) are secretory organelles of endothelial cells that undergo evoked exocytosis following intracellular Ca2+ or cAMP elevation, thereby supplying the vasculature with factors controlling hemostasis. Several cytosolic and membrane-associated proteins, including the Rab family members Rab3, Rab15, and Rab27a, have been implicated in regulating the acute exocytosis of WPB. Here, we carried out a genome-wide screen to identify Rab pathways affecting WPB exocytosis. Overexpression of a specific subset of Rab GTPase-activating proteins (RabGAPs) inhibited histamine-evoked, Ca2+-dependent WPB exocytosis, presumably by inactivating the target Rab GTPases. Among these RabGAPs, we concentrated on TBC1D10A and showed that the inhibitory effect depends on its GAP activity. We confirmed that Rab35 was a target Rab of TBC1D10A in human endothelial cells; Rab35 interacted with TBC1D10A, and expression of the GAP-insensitive Rab35(Q67A) mutant rescued the inhibitory effect of TBC1D10A overexpression on WPB exocytosis. Furthermore, knockdown of Rab35 and expression of a dominant-negative Rab35 mutant both inhibited histamine-evoked secretion of the WPB cargos von Willebrand factor and P-selectin. Pulldown and co-immunoprecipitation experiments identified the ArfGAP with coiled-coil, Ank repeat, and pleckstrin homology domain-containing protein ACAP2 as an Rab35 effector in endothelial cells, and depletion as well as overexpression approaches revealed that ACAP2 acts as a negative regulator of WPB exocytosis. Interestingly, a known ACAP2 target, the small GTPase Arf6, supported histamine-evoked WPB exocytosis, as shown by knockdown and overexpression of a dominant-negative Arf6 mutant. Our data identify Rab35 as a novel regulator of WPB exocytosis, most likely acting through the downstream effectors ACAP2 and Arf6.
Project description:Cyclic AMP promotes EPAC1 and EPAC2 activation through direct binding to a specific cyclic nucleotide-binding domain (CNBD) within each protein, leading to activation of Rap GTPases, which control multiple cell responses, including cell proliferation, adhesion, morphology, exocytosis, and gene expression. As a result, it has become apparent that directed activation of EPAC1 and EPAC2 with synthetic agonists may also be useful for the future treatment of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. To identify new EPAC agonists we have developed a fluorescent-based, ultra-high-throughput screening (uHTS) assay that measures the displacement of binding of the fluorescent cAMP analogue, 8-NBD-cAMP to the EPAC1 CNBD. Triage of the output of an approximately 350,000 compound screens using this assay identified a benzofuran oxaloacetic acid EPAC1 binder (SY000) that displayed moderate potency using orthogonal assays (competition binding and microscale thermophoresis). We next generated a limited library of 91 analogues of SY000 and identified SY009, with modifications to the benzofuran ring associated with a 10-fold increase in potency towards EPAC1 over SY000 in binding assays. In vitro EPAC1 activity assays confirmed the agonist potential of these molecules in comparison with the known EPAC1 non-cyclic nucleotide (NCN) partial agonist, I942. Rap1 GTPase activation assays further demonstrated that SY009 selectively activates EPAC1 over EPAC2 in cells. SY009 therefore represents a novel class of NCN EPAC1 activators that selectively activate EPAC1 in cellulae.
Project description:Endothelial exocytosis of Weibel-Palade body (WPB) is one of the first lines of defence against vascular injury. However, the mechanisms that control WPB exocytosis in the final stages (including the docking, priming and fusion of granules) are poorly understood. Here we show that the focal adhesion protein zyxin is crucial in this process. Zyxin downregulation inhibits the secretion of von Willebrand factor (VWF), the most abundant cargo in WPBs, from human primary endothelial cells (ECs) induced by cAMP agonists. Zyxin-deficient mice exhibit impaired epinephrine-stimulated VWF release, prolonged bleeding time and thrombosis, largely due to defective endothelial secretion of VWF. Using live-cell super-resolution microscopy, we visualize previously unappreciated reorganization of pre-existing actin filaments around WPBs before fusion, dependent on zyxin and an interaction with the actin crosslinker ?-actinin. Our findings identify zyxin as a physiological regulator of endothelial exocytosis through reorganizing local actin network in the final stage of exocytosis.
Project description:The major physiological effects of cAMP in mammalian cells are transduced by two ubiquitously expressed intracellular cAMP receptors, protein kinase A (PKA) and exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (EPAC), as well as cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels in certain tissues. Although a large number of PKA inhibitors are available, there are no reported EPAC-specific antagonists, despite extensive research efforts. Here we report the identification and characterization of noncyclic nucleotide EPAC antagonists that are exclusively specific for the EPAC2 isoform. These EAPC2-specific antagonists, designated as ESI-05 and ESI-07, inhibit Rap1 activation mediated by EAPC2, but not EPAC1, with high potency in vitro. Moreover, ESI-05 and ESI-07 are capable of suppressing the cAMP-mediated activation of EPAC2, but not EPAC1 and PKA, as monitored in living cells through the use of EPAC- and PKA-based FRET reporters, or by the use of Rap1-GTP pull-down assays. Deuterium exchange mass spectroscopy analysis further reveals that EPAC2-specific inhibitors exert their isoform selectivity through a unique mechanism by binding to a previously undescribed allosteric site: the interface of the two cAMP binding domains, which is not present in the EPAC1 isoform. Isoform-specific EPAC pharmacological probes are highly desired and will be valuable tools for dissecting the biological functions of EPAC proteins and their roles in various disease states.
Project description:Besides the glomerulus, the tubulointerstitium is often concomitantly affected in certain diseases, e.g., diabetic nephropathy, and activation of the renin-angiotensin system, to a certain extent, worsens its outcome because of perturbations in hemodynamics and possibly tubuloglomerular feedback. Certain studies suggest that pathobiology of the tubulointerstitium is influenced by small GTPases, e.g., Rap1. We investigated the effect of ANG II on inflammatory cytokines, while at the same time focusing on upstream effector of Rap1, i.e., Epac1, and some of the downstream tubular transport molecules, i.e., Na/H exchanger 3 (NHE3). ANG II treatment of LLC-PK1 cells decreased Rap1a GTPase activity in a time- and dose-dependent manner. ANG II treatment led to an increased membrane translocation of NHE3, which was reduced with Epac1 and PKA activators. ANG II-induced NHE3 translocation was notably reduced with the transfection of Rap1a dominant positive mutants, i.e., Rap1a-G12V or Rap1a-T35A. Transfection of cells with dominant negative Rap1a mutants, i.e., Rap1a-S17A, or Epac1 mutant, i.e., EPAC-?cAMP, normalized ANG II-induced translocation of NHE3. In addition, ANG II treatment led to an increased expression of inflammatory cytokines, i.e., IL-1?, IL-6, IL-8, and TNF-?, which was reduced with Rap1a-G12V or Rap1a-T35A transfection, while it reverted to previous comparable levels following transfection of Rap1a-S17A or EPAC-?cAMP. ANG II-induced expression of cytokines was reduced with the treatment with NHE3 inhibitor S3226 or with Epac1 and PKA activators. These data suggest that this novel Epac1-Rap1a-NHE3 pathway conceivably modulates ANG II-induced expression of inflammatory cytokines, and this information may yield the impetus for developing strategies to reduce tubulointertstitial inflammation in various renal diseases.