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OBJECTIVE - The present study was aimed at developing a new cell-permeant peptide inhibitor (MK2i) of the kinase that phosphorylates and activates heat-shock protein (HSP)27 (MAPKAP kinase II), and evaluating the ability of this peptide to inhibit HSP27 phosphorylation and intimal thickening.
METHODS - The ability of MK2i to reduce HSP27 phosphorylation and cell migration was evaluated in A7R5 cells stimulated with arsenite or lysophosphatidic acid. Stable isotopic labeling using amino acids in cell culture, in combination with liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, was used to characterize the effect of MK2i on global protein expression in fibroblasts. The effect of MK2i on intimal thickening and connective tissue growth factor expression was evaluated in human saphenous vein (HSV) rings maintained with 30% fetal bovine serum for 14 days by light microscopy and immunoblotting.
RESULTS - Pretreatment of cells with MK2i (10 μM) prior to arsenite or lysophosphatidic acid stimulation decreased phosphorylation of HSP27 (36% ± 9% and 33% ± 10%, respectively) compared with control (not pretreated) cells. MK2i also inhibited A7R5 migration, and downregulated the transforming growth factor-induced expression of collagen and fibronectin in keloid cells, two major matrix proteins involved in the development of intimal hyperplasia. Treatment of HSV segments with MK2i enhanced relaxation, reduced HSP27 phosphorylation (40% ± 17%), connective tissue growth factor expression (17% ± 5%), and intimal thickness (48.2% ± 10.5%) compared with untreated segments. On the other hand, treatment with a recombinant fusion protein containing a cell-permeant peptide attached to the HSP27 sequence increased intimal thickness of HSV segments by 48% ± 14%.
CONCLUSION - Our results suggest that HSP27 may play a role in the development of processes leading to intimal hyperplasia in HSV, and reduction of HSP27 phosphorylation by MK2i may be a potential strategy to inhibit the development of intimal hyperplasia in HSV to prevent the autologous vascular graft failure.
Published by Mosby, Inc.
Heat shock protein 27 (HSP27) has been implicated in many intracellular signaling processes. Since the phosphorylation of HSP27 can modulate its activity, the ability to inhibit phosphorylation of HSP27 might have clinical relevance especially with regard to the treatment of fibrosis. We have developed a cell-permeant peptide inhibitor of MAPKAP Kinase 2 (MK2), an enzyme that phosphorylates HSP27, by combining a previously described peptide substrate of MK2 with a cell penetrating peptide. This novel MK2 inhibitor (MK2i) reduced HSP27 phosphorylation by MK2 in vitro. At 10 microM, MK2i inhibited TGF-beta1-induced HSP27 phosphorylation in serum-starved human keloid fibroblasts. In addition, 10 microM MK2i decreased TGF-beta1-induced expression of connective tissue growth factor and collagen type I within serum-starved keloid fibroblasts. Thus, MK2i represents a potential therapeutic for the treatment of fibrotic disorders.
Wilms' tumor (WT), one of the most common pediatric solid cancers, arises in the developing kidney as a result of genetic and epigenetic changes that lead to the abnormal proliferation and differentiation of the metanephric blastema. As activation of signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) plays an important role in the maintenance/growth and differentiation of the metanephric blastema, and constitutively activated STATs facilitate neoplastic behaviors of a variety of cancers, we hypothesized that dysregulation of STAT signaling may also contribute to WT pathogenesis. Accordingly, we evaluated STAT phosphorylation patterns in tumors and found that STAT1 was constitutively phosphorylated on serine 727 (S727) in 19 of 21 primary WT samples and two WT cell lines. An inactivating mutation of S727 to alanine reduced colony formation of WT cells in soft agar by more than 80% and induced apoptosis under conditions of growth stress. S727-phosphorylated STAT1 provided apoptotic resistance for WT cells via upregulation of expression of the heat-shock protein (HSP)27 and antiapoptotic protein myeloid cell leukemia (MCL)-1. The kinase responsible for STAT1 S727 phosphorylation in WT cells was identified based upon the use of selective inhibitors as protein kinase CK2, not p38, MAP-kinase kinase (MEK)1/2, phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase, protein kinase C or Ca/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). The inhibition of CK2 blocked the anchorage-independent growth of WT cells and induced apoptosis under conditions of growth stress. Our findings suggest that serine-phosphorylated STAT1, as a downstream target of protein kinase CK2, plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of WT and possibly other neoplasms with similar STAT1 phosphorylation patterns.
BACKGROUND - Vasospasm occurs in conduits used for vascular reconstructions. The small heat shock proteins, HSP20 and HSP27, coordinately regulate vascular smooth muscle tone. Phosphorylated HSP20 is associated with vasorelaxation, and phosphorylated HSP27 inhibits the phosphorylation of HSP20 and relaxation. We hypothesized that the relationship between the phosphorylated states of these two proteins might dictate the tone of a vessel and may contribute to vasospasm.
STUDY DESIGN - Sodium nitroprusside relaxation of vascular smooth muscle was recorded using pig coronary artery and human saphenous vein. Segments were frozen and homogenized, and extracted proteins were separated by one- and two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, transferred to Immobilon (Millipore), and probed with anti-cGMP-dependent protein kinase (anti-PKG), -HSP20, -HSP27, and -phosphoHSP27 antibodies. Band intensity was estimated using densitometry.
RESULTS - Pig coronary artery completely relaxed (100%) with SNP (10(-7)M), but human saphenous vein only partially relaxed (20%). The levels of cGMP-dependent protein kinase and HSP20 were similar in the two tissue types. Human saphenous vein had significantly higher levels of HSP27 versus pig coronary artery (30.14 +/- 0.8 versus 6.62 +/- 0.2 pixels/mg; p < or = 0.001) and phosphoHSP27 (8.29 +/- 3.43 versus 0.012 +/- 0.008 pixels/mg; p < or = 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS - Human saphenous vein contained significantly higher levels of HSP27 and pHSP27. Increased levels of phosphorylated HSP27 might contribute to vasospasm in human saphenous vein.
A chimeric protein consisting of enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) fused to the N-terminus of human Hsp27 conferred stress protection in human A549 lung carcinoma and murine L929 cells that were stably transfected to express the chimera constitutively. The resultant protection was comparable with that in the same cell lines when they were transfected to express corresponding levels of Hsp27. Unlike L929 cells, A549 cells exhibit endogenous Hsp27 expression, whose expression was inhibited in proportion to the amount of fluorescent chimera expressed, suggesting that the A549 cells recognized the latter as Hsp27. Upregulation of Hsp27 or chimeric Hsp27 in all transfected cell lines (stable or transient transfection) caused no measurable change in cellular glutathione levels, indicating that glutathione played no role in the stress protection associated with either protein. Chimeric Hsp27 had a monomeric molecular weight of 55 kDa (that of Hsp27 plus EGFP) in both cell types and formed a 16-mer complex twice as massive as that formed by Hsp27. Heat shock or sodium arsenite induced phosphorylation of both chimeric Hsp27 and Hsp27, which resulted in the disaggregation of Hsp27 multimers in both cell types and disaggregation of 20% of the chimeric multimers in L929 cells. But chimeric Hsp27 multimers did not disaggregate after stress in A549 cells. Epifluorescence and confocal microscopy demonstrated that chimeric Hsp27 was restricted to the cytoplasm under normal growth conditions and after heat shock in all cells. This study supports the conclusions that Hsp27 stress protection requires neither its translocation into the nucleus nor the dissociation of its multimeric complex. Furthermore, it demonstrates that fluorescent chimeras of heat shock proteins can be functional and used to observe the protein's distribution within living cells.
AlphaB-crystallin and heat shock protein (hsp) 25 are structurally and functionally related small stress proteins induced by a variety of insults, including heat and ischemia. Cytoprotection by these two hsp is thought to result from molecular chaperoning and/or cytoskeletal stabilization. Because renal ischemia is characterized by disruption of the renal tubular cell actin cytoskeleton, this study was conducted to determine the localization and quantify the expression and phosphorylation of both hsp in renal cortex, isolated glomeruli, outer medulla, and inner medulla of rats after bilateral renal ischemia. Sham-operated kidneys had similarly small amounts of hsp25 and alphaB-crystallin in cortex and glomeruli, with substantially greater amounts of alphaB-crystallin versus hsp25 in outer and inner medulla. Ischemia resulted in significantly increased hsp25 (and hsp70i) but variable alphaB-crystallin levels in cortex and outer medulla, and progressively decreased glomerular hsp25 phosphorylation. In sham-operated kidneys, hsp25 localized to glomeruli, vessels, and collecting ducts, with alphaB-crystallin primarily in medullary thin limbs and collecting ducts. After ischemia, hsp25 accumulated in proximal tubules in cortex and outer medulla, while alphaB-crystallin labeling became nonhomogeneous in outer medulla, and increased in Bowman's capsule. It is concluded that: (1) There is striking differential expression of hsp25 and alphaB-crystallin in various renal compartments; and (2) Renal ischemia results in differential accumulation of hsp25 and alphaB-crystallin, with hsp25 part of a generalized stress response in renal proximal tubular cells, which may play a role in recovery from ischemia-induced actin filament disruption.