Dedicator of cytokinesis 2, a novel regulator for smooth muscle phenotypic modulation and vascular remodeling.
ABSTRACT: RATIONALE:Vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotypic modulation and vascular remodeling contribute to the development of several vascular disorders such as restenosis after angioplasty, transplant vasculopathy, and atherosclerosis. The mechanisms underlying these processes, however, remain largely unknown. OBJECTIVE:The objective of this study is to determine the role of dedicator of cytokinesis 2 (DOCK2) in SMC phenotypic modulation and vascular remodeling. METHODS AND RESULTS:Platelet-derived growth factor-BB induced DOCK2 expression while modulating SMC phenotype. DOCK2 deficiency diminishes platelet-derived growth factor-BB or serum-induced downregulation of SMC markers. Conversely, DOCK2 overexpression inhibits SMC marker expression in primary cultured SMC. Mechanistically, DOCK2 inhibits myocardin expression, blocks serum response factor nuclear location, attenuates myocardin binding to serum response factor, and thus attenuates myocardin-induced smooth muscle marker promoter activity. Moreover, DOCK2 and Kruppel-like factor 4 cooperatively inhibit myocardin-serum response factor interaction. In a rat carotid artery balloon-injury model, DOCK2 is induced in media layer SMC initially and neointima SMC subsequently after vascular injury. Knockdown of DOCK2 dramatically inhibits the neointima formation by 60%. Most importantly, knockout of DOCK2 in mice markedly blocks ligation-induced intimal hyperplasia while restoring SMC contractile protein expression. CONCLUSIONS:Our studies identified DOCK2 as a novel regulator for SMC phenotypic modulation and vascular lesion formation after vascular injury. Therefore, targeting DOCK2 may be a potential therapeutic strategy for the prevention of vascular remodeling in proliferative vascular diseases.
Project description:The objective of this study is to investigate the role and underlying mechanism of Olfactomedin 2 (Olfm2) in smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotypic modulation and vascular remodeling.Platelet-derived growth factor-BB induces Olfm2 expression in primary SMCs while modulating SMC phenotype as shown by the downregulation of SMC marker proteins. Knockdown of Olfm2 blocks platelet-derived growth factor-BB-induced SMC phenotypic modulation, proliferation, and migration. Conversely, Olfm2 overexpression inhibits SMC marker expression. Mechanistically, Olfm2 promotes the interaction of serum response factor with the runt-related transcription factor 2 that is induced by platelet-derived growth factor-BB, leading to a decreased interaction between serum response factor and myocardin, causing a repression of SMC marker gene transcription and consequently SMC phenotypic modulation. Animal studies show that Olfm2 is upregulated in balloon-injured rat carotid arteries. Knockdown of Olfm2 effectively inhibits balloon injury-induced neointima formation. Importantly, knockout of Olfm2 in mice profoundly suppresses wire injury-induced neointimal hyperplasia while restoring SMC contractile protein expression, suggesting that Olfm2 plays a critical role in SMC phenotypic modulation in vivo.Olfm2 is a novel factor mediating SMC phenotypic modulation. Thus, Olfm2 may be a potential target for treating injury-induced proliferative vascular diseases.
Project description:Interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8), a member of the IRF transcription factor family, was recently implicated in vascular diseases. In the present study, using the mouse left carotid artery wire injury model, we unexpectedly observed that the expression of IRF8 was greatly enhanced in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) by injury. Compared with the wild-type controls, IRF8 global knockout mice exhibited reduced neointimal lesions and maintained SMC marker gene expression. We further generated SMC-specific IRF8 transgenic mice using an SM22?-driven IRF8 plasmid construct. In contrast to the knockout mice, mice with SMC-overexpressing IRF8 exhibited a synthetic phenotype and enhanced neointima formation. Mechanistically, IRF8 inhibited SMC marker gene expression through regulating serum response factor (SRF) transactivation in a myocardin-dependent manner. Furthermore, a coimmunoprecipitation assay indicated a direct interaction of IRF8 with myocardin, in which a specific region of myocardin was essential for recruiting acetyltransferase p300. Altogether, IRF8 is crucial in modulating SMC phenotype switching and neointima formation in response to vascular injury via direct interaction with the SRF/myocardin complex.
Project description:RATIONALE:Vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotypic modulation is characterized by the downregulation of SMC contractile genes. Platelet-derived growth factor-BB, a well-known stimulator of SMC phenotypic modulation, downregulates SMC genes via posttranscriptional regulation. The underlying mechanisms, however, remain largely unknown. OBJECTIVE:To establish RNA editing as a novel mechanism controlling SMC phenotypic modulation. METHODS AND RESULTS:Precursor mRNAs (pre-mRNA) of SMC myosin heavy chain and smooth muscle ?-actin were accumulated while their mature mRNAs were downregulated during SMC phenotypic modulation, suggesting an abnormal splicing of the pre-mRNAs. The abnormal splicing resulted from SMC marker pre-mRNA editing that was facilitated by adenosine deaminase acting on RNA 1 (ADAR1), an enzyme converting adenosines to inosines (A?I editing) in RNA sequences. ADAR1 expression inversely correlated with SMC myosin heavy chain and smooth muscle ?-actin levels; knockdown of ADAR1 restored SMC myosin heavy chain and smooth muscle ?-actin expression in phenotypically modulated SMC, and editase domain mutation diminished the ADAR1-mediated abnormal splicing of SMC marker pre-mRNAs. Moreover, the abnormal splicing/editing of SMC myosin heavy chain and smooth muscle ?-actin pre-mRNAs occurred during injury-induced vascular remodeling. Importantly, heterozygous knockout of ADAR1 dramatically inhibited injury-induced neointima formation and restored SMC marker expression, demonstrating a critical role of ADAR1 in SMC phenotypic modulation and vascular remodeling in vivo. CONCLUSIONS:Our results unraveled a novel molecular mechanism, that is, pre-mRNA editing, governing SMC phenotypic modulation.
Project description:Vascular remodeling because of smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation is a common process occurring in several vascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, aortic aneurysm, post-transplant vasculopathy, restenosis after angioplasty, etc. The molecular mechanism underlying SMC proliferation, however, is not completely understood. The objective of this study is to determine the role and mechanism of Janus kinase 3 (JAK3) in vascular remodeling and SMC proliferation.Platelet-derived growth factor-BB, an SMC mitogen, induces JAK3 expression and phosphorylation while stimulating SMC proliferation. Janex-1, a specific inhibitor of JAK3, or knockdown of JAK3 by short hairpin RNA, inhibits the SMC proliferation. Conversely, ectopic expression of JAK3 promotes SMC proliferation. Mechanistically, JAK3 promotes the phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 and c-Jun N-terminal kinase in SMC, 2 signaling pathways known to be critical for SMC proliferation and vascular remodeling. Blockade of these 2 signaling pathways by their inhibitors impeded the JAK3-mediated SMC proliferation. In vivo, knockdown of JAK3 attenuates injury-induced neointima formation with attenuated neointimal SMC proliferation. Knockdown of JAK3 also induces neointimal SMC apoptosis in rat carotid artery balloon injury model.Our results demonstrate that JAK3 mediates SMC proliferation and survival during injury-induced vascular remodeling, which provides a potential therapeutic target for preventing neointimal hyperplasia in proliferative vascular diseases.
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:Little is known about vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) phenotypic modulation in the cerebral circulation or pathogenesis of intracranial aneurysms. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-?) has been associated with aneurysms, but potential mechanisms are unclear. Cultured rat cerebral SMCs overexpressing myocardin induced expression of key SMC contractile genes (SM-?-actin, SM-22?, smooth muscle myosin heavy chain), while dominant-negative cells suppressed expression. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha treatment inhibited this contractile phenotype and induced pro-inflammatory/matrix-remodeling genes (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, matrix metalloproteinase-3, matrix metalloproteinase-9, vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, interleukin-1 beta). Tumor necrosis factor-alpha increased expression of KLF4, a known regulator of SMC differentiation. Kruppel-like transcription factor 4 (KLF4) small interfering RNA abrogated TNF-? activation of inflammatory genes and suppression of contractile genes. These mechanisms were confirmed in vivo after exposure of rat carotid arteries to TNF-? and early on in a model of cerebral aneurysm formation. Treatment with the synthesized TNF-? inhibitor 3,6-dithiothalidomide reversed pathologic vessel wall alterations after induced hypertension and hemodynamic stress. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays in vivo and in vitro demonstrated that TNF-? promotes epigenetic changes through KLF4-dependent alterations in promoter regions of myocardin, SMCs, and inflammatory genes. In conclusion, TNF-? induces phenotypic modulation of cerebral SMCs through myocardin and KLF4-regulated pathways. These results demonstrate a novel role for TNF-? in promoting a pro-inflammatory/matrix-remodeling phenotype, which has important implications for the mechanisms behind intracranial aneurysm formation.
Project description:Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease is a major complication of chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD leads to uremia, which modulates the phenotype of aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs). Phenotypic modulation of SMCs plays a key role in accelerating atherosclerosis. We investigated the hypothesis that uremia potentiates neointima formation in response to vascular injury in mice. Carotid wire injury was performed on C57BL/6 wt and apolipoprotein E knockout (Apoe -/-) mice two weeks after induction of uremia by 5/6 nephrectomy. Wire injury led to neointima formation and downregulation of genes encoding classical SMC markers (i.e., myocardin, ?-smooth muscle actin, SM22-alpha, and smooth muscle myosin heavy chain) in both wt and Apoe -/- mice. Contrary to our expectations, uremia did not potentiate neointima formation, nor did it affect intimal lesion composition as judged from magnetic resonance imaging and histological analyses. Also, there was no effect of uremia on SMC marker gene expression in the injured carotid arteries, suggesting that there may be different effects of uremia on SMCs in different vascular beds. In conclusion, uremia does not accelerate neointima formation in response to wire injury of the carotid artery in mice.
Project description:Autophagy is recently implicated in regulating vascular smooth muscle cell (SMC) homeostasis and in the pathogenesis of vascular remodeling. Transcription factor EB (TFEB) is a master regulator of autophagy signaling pathways. However, the molecular mechanisms and functional roles of TFEB in SMC homeostasis have not been elucidated. Here, we surveyed the ability of TFEB to regulate autophagy pathway in SMCs, and whether pharmacological activation of TFEB favors SMC homeostasis preventing dedifferentiation and pathogenic vascular remodeling. In primary cultured SMCs, TFEB activator trehalose induced nuclear translocation of TFEB and upregulation of TFEB-controlled autophagy genes leading to enhanced autophagy signaling. Moreover, trehalose suppressed serum-induced SMC dedifferentiation to synthetic phenotypes as characterized by inhibited proliferation and migration. These effects of trehalose were mimicked by ectopic upregulation of TFEB and inhibited by TFEB gene silencing. In animal experiments, partial ligation of carotid arteries induced downregulation of TFEB pathway in the media layer of these arteries. Such TFEB suppression was correlated with increased SMC dedifferentiation and aggravated high-fat diet (HFD)-induced neointima formation. Treatment of mice with trehalose reversed this TFEB pathway suppression, and prevented SMC dedifferentiation and HFD-induced neointima formation. In conclusion, our findings have identified TFEB as a novel positive regulator for autophagy pathway and cellular homeostasis in SMCs. Our data suggest that suppression of TFEB may be an initiating mechanism that promotes SMC dedifferentiation leading to accelerated neointima formation in vascular disorders associated with metabolic stress, whereas trehalose reverses these changes. These findings warrant further evaluation of trehalose in the clinical settings.
Project description:We and others have previously shown that RhoA-dependent stimulation of myocardin-related transcription factor nuclear localization promotes smooth muscle cell (SMC) marker gene expression. The goal of this study was to provide direct in vivo evidence that actin polymerization by the diaphanous-related formins contributes to the regulation of SMC differentiation and phenotype.Conditional Cre-based genetic approaches were used to overexpress a well-characterized dominant-negative variant of mDia1 (DNmDia) in SMC. DNmDia expression in SM22-expressing cells resulted in embryonic and perinatal lethality in ?20% of mice because of defects in myocardial development and SMC investment of peripheral vessels. Although most DNmDia(+)/SM22Cre(+) mice exhibited no overt phenotype, the re-expression of SMC differentiation marker gene expression that occurs after carotid artery ligation was delayed, and this effect was accompanied by a significant decrease in myocardin-related transcription factor-A nuclear localization. Interestingly, neointima growth was inhibited by expression of DNmDia in SMC and this was likely because of a defect in directional SMC migration and not to defects in SMC proliferation or survival. Finally, by using the tamoxifen-inducible SM MHC-CreER(T2) line, we showed that SMC-specific induction of DNmDia in adult mice decreased SMC marker gene expression.Our demonstration that diaphanous-related formin signaling plays a role in heart and vascular development and the maintenance of SMC phenotype provides important new evidence that Rho/actin/myocardin-related transcription factor signaling plays a critical role in cardiovascular function.
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.