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BACKGROUND - Vascular dysfunction is commonly seen during severe viral infections. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), has been postulated to play an important role in regulating vascular homeostasis as well as propagation of the inflammatory reaction. We hypothesized that the loss of eNOS would negatively impact toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) signaling and worsen vascular function to viral challenge.
METHODS - Human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs) were exposed to either control or eNOS siRNA and then treated with Poly I:C, a TLR3 agonist and mimicker of dsRNA viruses. Cells were assessed for protein-protein associations, cytokine and chemokine analysis as well as transendothelial electrical resistance (TEER) as a surrogate of permeability.
RESULTS - HMVECs that had reduced eNOS expression had a significantly elevated increase in IL-6, IL-8 and IP-10 production after Poly I:C. In addition, the knockdown of eNOS enhanced the change in TEER after Poly I:C stimulation. Western blot analysis showed enhanced phosphorylation of p38 in sieNOS treated cells with Poly I:C compared to siControl cells. Proximity ligation assays further demonstrated direct eNOS-p38 protein-protein interactions. The addition of the p38 inhibitor, SB203580, in eNOS knockdown cells reduced both cytokine production after Poly I:C, and as well as mitigated the reduction in TEER, suggesting a direct link between eNOS and p38 in TLR3 signaling.
CONCLUSIONS - These results suggest that reduction of eNOS increases TLR3-mediated inflammation in human endothelial cells in a p38-dependent manner. This finding has important implications for understanding the pathogenesis of severe viral infections and the associated vascular dysfunction.
β-Arrestins are key regulators and signal transducers of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). The interaction between receptors and β-arrestins is generally believed to require both receptor activity and phosphorylation by GPCR kinases. In this study, we investigated whether β-arrestins are able to bind second messenger kinase-phosphorylated, but inactive receptors as well. Because heterologous phosphorylation is a common phenomenon among GPCRs, this mode of β-arrestin activation may represent a novel mechanism of signal transduction and receptor cross-talk. Here we demonstrate that activation of protein kinase C (PKC) by phorbol myristate acetate, G-coupled GPCR, or epidermal growth factor receptor stimulation promotes β-arrestin2 recruitment to unliganded AT angiotensin receptor (ATR). We found that this interaction depends on the stability lock, a structure responsible for the sustained binding between GPCRs and β-arrestins, formed by phosphorylated serine-threonine clusters in the receptor's C terminus and two conserved phosphate-binding lysines in the β-arrestin2 N-domain. Using improved FlAsH-based serine-threonine clusters β-arrestin2 conformational biosensors, we also show that the stability lock not only stabilizes the receptor-β-arrestin interaction, but also governs the structural rearrangements within β-arrestins. Furthermore, we found that β-arrestin2 binds to PKC-phosphorylated ATR in a distinct active conformation, which triggers MAPK recruitment and receptor internalization. Our results provide new insights into the activation of β-arrestins and reveal their novel role in receptor cross-talk.
© 2018 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
A viable vascular endothelial layer prevents vasomotor dysfunction, thrombosis, inflammation, and intimal hyperplasia. Injury to the endothelium occurs during harvest and "back table" preparation of human saphenous vein prior to implantation as an arterial bypass conduit. A subfailure overstretch model of rat aorta was used to show that subfailure stretch injury of vascular tissue leads to impaired endothelial-dependent relaxation. Stretch-induced impaired relaxation was mitigated by treatment with purinergic P2X7 receptor (P2X7R) inhibitors, brilliant blue FCF (FCF) and A740003, or apyrase, an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of ATP. Alternatively, treatment of rat aorta with exogenous ATP or 2'(3')-O-(4-Benzoyl benzoyl)-ATP (BzATP) also impaired endothelial-dependent relaxation. Treatment of human saphenous vein endothelial cells (HSVEC) with exogenous ATP led to reduced nitric oxide production which was associated with increased phosphorylation of the stress activated protein kinase, p38 MAPK. ATP- stimulated p38 MAPK phosphorylation of HSVEC was inhibited by FCF and SB203580. Moreover, ATP inhibition of nitric oxide production in HSVEC was prevented by FCF, SB203580, L-arginine supplementation and arginase inhibition. Finally, L-arginine supplementation and arginase inhibition restored endothelial dependent relaxation after stretch injury of rat aorta. These results suggest that vascular stretch injury leads to ATP release, activation of P2X7R and p38 MAPK resulting in endothelial dysfunction due to arginase activation. Endothelial function can be restored in both ATP treated HSVEC and intact stretch injured rat aorta by P2X7 receptor inhibition with FCF or L-arginine supplementation, implicating straightforward therapeutic options for treatment of surgical vascular injury.
Endothelial dysfunction, characterized by changes in eNOS, is a common finding in chronic inflammatory vascular diseases. These states are associated with increased infectious complications. We hypothesized that alterations in eNOS would enhance the response to LPS-mediated TLR4 inflammation. Human microvascular endothelial cells were treated with sepiapterin or N-nitro-L-arginine methylester (L-NAME) to alter endogenous NO production, and small interfering RNA to knockdown eNOS. Alterations of endogenous NO by sepiapterin, and L-NAME provided no significant changes to LPS inflammation. In contrast, eNOS knockdown greatly enhanced endothelial IL-6 production and permeability in response to LPS. Knockdown of eNOS enhanced LPS-induced p38. Inhibition of p38 with SB203580 prevented IL-6 production, without altering permeability. Knockdown of p38 impaired NF-κB activation. Physical interaction between p38 and eNOS was demonstrated by immunoprecipitation, suggesting a novel, NO-independent mechanism for eNOS regulation of TLR4. In correlation, biopsy samples in patients with systemic lupus erythematous showed reduced eNOS expression with associated elevations in TLR4 and p38, suggesting an in vivo link. Thus, reduced expression of eNOS, as seen in chronic inflammatory disease, was associated with enhanced TLR4 signaling through p38. This may enhance the response to infection in patients with chronic inflammatory conditions.-Stark, R. J., Koch, S. R., Choi, H., Mace, E. H., Dikalov, S. I., Sherwood, E. R., Lamb, F. S. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase modulates Toll-like receptor 4-mediated IL-6 production and permeability via nitric oxide-independent signaling.
BACKGROUND - Human saphenous veins used for arterial bypass undergo stretch injury at the time of harvest and preimplant preparation. Vascular injury promotes intimal hyperplasia, the leading cause of graft failure, but the molecular events leading to this response are largely unknown. This study investigated adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as a potential molecular mediator in the vascular response to stretch injury, and the downstream effects of the purinergic receptor, P2X7R, and p38 MAPK activation.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - A subfailure stretch rat aorta model was used to determine the effect of stretch injury on release of ATP and vasomotor responses. Stretch-injured tissues were treated with apyrase, the P2X7R antagonist, A438079, or the p38 MAPK inhibitor, SB203580, and subsequent contractile forces were measured using a muscle bath. An exogenous ATP (eATP) injury model was developed and the experiment repeated. Change in p38 MAPK phosphorylation after stretch and eATP tissue injury was determined using Western blotting. Noninjured tissue was incubated in the p38 MAPK activator, anisomycin, and subsequent contractile function and p38 MAPK phosphorylation were analyzed.
RESULTS - Stretch injury was associated with release of ATP. Contractile function was decreased in tissue subjected to subfailure stretch, eATP, and anisomycin. Contractile function was restored by apyrase, P2X7R antagonism, and p38-MAPK inhibition. Stretch, eATP, and anisomycin-injured tissue demonstrated increased phosphorylation of p38 MAPK.
CONCLUSIONS - Taken together, these data suggest that the vascular response to stretch injury is associated with release of ATP and activation of the P2X7R/P38 MAPK pathway, resulting in contractile dysfunction. Modulation of this pathway in vein grafts after harvest and before implantation may reduce the vascular response to injury.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Monoclonal antibodies targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), cetuximab and panitumumab, are a mainstay of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treatment. However, a significant number of patients suffer from primary or acquired resistance. RAS mutations are negative predictors of clinical efficacy of anti-EGFR antibodies in patients with mCRC. Oncogenic RAS activates the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways, which are considered the main effectors of resistance. However, the relative impact of these pathways in RAS-mutant CRC is less defined. A better mechanistic understanding of RAS-mediated resistance may guide development of rational intervention strategies. To this end we developed cancer models for functional dissection of resistance to anti-EGFR therapy in vitro and in vivo. To selectively activate MAPK- or AKT-signaling we expressed conditionally activatable RAF-1 and AKT in cancer cells. We found that either pathway independently protected sensitive cancer models against anti-EGFR antibody treatment in vitro and in vivo. RAF-1- and AKT-mediated resistance was associated with increased expression of anti-apoptotic BCL-2 proteins. Biomarkers of MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathway activation correlated with inferior outcome in a cohort of mCRC patients receiving cetuximab-based therapy. Dual pharmacologic inhibition of PI3K and MEK successfully sensitized primary resistant CRC models to anti-EGFR therapy. In conclusion, combined targeting of MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling, but not single pathways, may be required to enhance the efficacy of anti-EGFR antibody therapy in patients with RAS-mutated CRC as well as in RAS wild type tumors with clinical resistance.
In familial pulmonary arterial hypertension (FPAH), the autosomal dominant disease-causing BMPR2 mutation is only 20% penetrant, suggesting that genetic variation provides modifiers that alleviate the disease. Here, we used comparison of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived endothelial cells (iPSC-ECs) from three families with unaffected mutation carriers (UMCs), FPAH patients, and gender-matched controls to investigate this variation. Our analysis identified features of UMC iPSC-ECs related to modifiers of BMPR2 signaling or to differentially expressed genes. FPAH-iPSC-ECs showed reduced adhesion, survival, migration, and angiogenesis compared to UMC-iPSC-ECs and control cells. The "rescued" phenotype of UMC cells was related to an increase in specific BMPR2 activators and/or a reduction in inhibitors, and the improved cell adhesion could be attributed to preservation of related signaling. The improved survival was related to increased BIRC3 and was independent of BMPR2. Our findings therefore highlight protective modifiers for FPAH that could help inform development of future treatment strategies.
Copyright © 2017 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kinases downstream of B-cell antigen receptor (BCR) represent attractive targets for therapy in non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). As clinical responses vary, improved knowledge regarding activation and regulation of BCR signaling in individual patients is needed. Here, using phosphospecific flow cytometry to obtain malignant B-cell signaling profiles from 95 patients representing 4 types of NHL revealed a striking contrast between chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) tumors. Lymphoma cells from diffuse large B-cell lymphoma patients had high basal phosphorylation levels of most measured signaling nodes, whereas follicular lymphoma cells represented the opposite pattern with no or very low basal levels. MCL showed large interpatient variability in basal levels, and elevated levels for the phosphorylated forms of AKT, extracellular signal-regulated kinase, p38, STAT1, and STAT5 were associated with poor outcome. CLL tumors had elevated basal levels for the phosphorylated forms of BCR-signaling nodes (Src family tyrosine kinase, spleen tyrosine kinase [SYK], phospholipase Cγ), but had low α-BCR-induced signaling. This contrasted MCL tumors, where α-BCR-induced signaling was variable, but significantly potentiated as compared with the other types. Overexpression of CD79B, combined with a gating strategy whereby signaling output was directly quantified per cell as a function of CD79B levels, confirmed a direct relationship between surface CD79B, immunoglobulin M (IgM), and IgM-induced signaling levels. Furthermore, α-BCR-induced signaling strength was variable across patient samples and correlated with BCR subunit CD79B expression, but was inversely correlated with susceptibility to Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) and SYK inhibitors in MCL. These individual differences in BCR levels and signaling might relate to differences in therapy responses to BCR-pathway inhibitors.
© 2017 by The American Society of Hematology.
Leucine Rich Repeat Containing 8A (LRRC8A) is a required component of volume-regulated anion channels (VRACs). In vascular smooth muscle cells, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) activates VRAC via type 1 TNFα receptors (TNFR1), and this requires superoxide (O) production by NADPH oxidase 1 (Nox1). VRAC inhibitors suppress the inflammatory response to TNFα by an unknown mechanism. We hypothesized that LRRC8A directly supports Nox1 activity, providing a link between VRAC current and inflammatory signaling. VRAC inhibition by 4-(2-butyl-6,7-dichlor-2-cyclopentylindan-1-on-5-yl) oxobutyric acid (DCPIB) impaired NF-κB activation by TNFα. LRRC8A siRNA reduced the magnitude of VRAC and inhibited TNFα-induced NF-κB activation, iNOS and VCAM expression, and proliferation of VSMCs. Signaling steps disrupted by both siLRRC8A and DCPIB included; extracellular O production by Nox1, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) phosphorylation and endocytosis of TNFR1. Extracellular superoxide dismutase, but not catalase, selectively inhibited TNFR1 endocytosis and JNK phosphorylation. Thus, O is the critical extracellular oxidant for TNFR signal transduction. Reducing JNK expression (siJNK) increased extracellular O suggesting that JNK provides important negative feedback regulation to Nox1 at the plasma membrane. LRRC8A co-localized by immunostaining, and co-immunoprecipitated with, both Nox1 and its p22phox subunit. LRRC8A is a component of the Nox1 signaling complex. It is required for extracellular O production, which is in turn essential for TNFR1 endocytosis. These data are the first to provide a molecular mechanism for the potent anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory effects of VRAC inhibition.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Chemotherapy is the primary established systemic treatment for patients with triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) in both the early and advanced-stages of the disease. The lack of targeted therapies and the poor prognosis of patients with TNBC have fostered a major effort to discover actionable molecular targets to treat patients with these tumours. Massively parallel sequencing and other 'omics' technologies have revealed an unexpected level of heterogeneity of TNBCs and have led to the identification of potentially actionable molecular features in some TNBCs, such as germline BRCA1/2 mutations or 'BRCAness', the presence of the androgen receptor, and several rare genomic alterations. Whether these alterations are molecular 'drivers', however, has not been clearly established. A subgroup of TNBCs shows a high degree of tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes that also correlates with a lower risk of disease relapse and a higher likelihood of benefit from chemotherapy. Proof-of-principle studies with immune-checkpoint inhibitors in advanced-stage TNBC have yielded promising results, indicating the potential benefit of immunotherapy for patients with TNBC. In this Review, we discuss the most relevant molecular findings in TNBC from the past decade and the most promising therapeutic opportunities derived from these data.