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1.  De-SUMOylation Enzyme of Sentrin/SUMO-Specific Protease 2 (SENP2) Regulates Disturbed Flow-Induced SUMOylation of ERK5 and p53 that Leads to Endothelial Dysfunction and Atherosclerosis 
Circulation research  2013;112(6):911-923.
Rationale
Disturbed flow induces pro-inflammatory and apoptotic responses in endothelial cells (ECs), causing them to become dysfunctional and subsequently pro-atherogenic.
Objective
Although a possible link between SUMOylation of p53 and ERK5 detected during endothelial apoptosis and inflammation has been suggested, the mechanistic insights, especially under the pro-atherogenic flow condition, remain largely unknown.
Methods and Results
SUMOylation of p53 and ERK5 was induced by disturbed flow but not by steady laminar flow. To examine the role of the disturbed flow-induced p53 and ERK5 SUMOylation, we utilized de-SUMOylation enzyme of sentrin/SUMO-specific protease 2 deficiency (Senp2+/−) mice and observed a significant increase in endothelial apoptosis and adhesion molecule expression both in vitro and in vivo. These increases, however, were significantly inhibited in ECs overexpressing p53 and ERK5 SUMOylation site mutants. Senp2+/− mice exhibited increased leukocyte rolling along the endothelium, and accelerated formation of atherosclerotic lesions was observed in Senp2+/−/Ldlr−/−, but not Senp2+/+/Ldlr−/−, mice fed a high cholesterol diet. Notably, the extent of lesion size in the aortic arch of Senp2+/−/Ldlr−/− mice was much larger than that in the descending aorta, also suggesting a crucial role of the disturbed flow-induced SUMOylation of proteins including p53 and ERK5 in atherosclerosis formation.
Conclusions
These data show the unique role of SENP2 on endothelial function under disturbed flow and suggest that SUMOylation of p53 and ERK5 by disturbed flow contributes to the atherosclerotic plaque formation. Molecules involved in this newly discovered signaling will be useful targets for controlling ECs dysfunction and consequently atherosclerosis formation.
doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.300179
PMCID: PMC3697009  PMID: 23381569
Atherosclerosis; disturbed flow; endothelial cells; SENP2; SUMOylation; shear stress; signal transduction
2.  Disturbed-Flow-Mediated Vascular Reactive Oxygen Species Induce Endothelial Dysfunction 
Emerging evidence is revealing the different roles of steady laminar flow (s-flow) and disturbed flow (d-flow) in the regulation of the vascular endothelium. s-flow is atheroprotective while d-flow creates an atheroprone environment. Most recently, we found unique atheroprone signals, which involve protein kinase C (PKC)ζ activation, elicited by d-flow. We and others have defined a novel role for PKCζ as a shared mediator for tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) and d-flow, which cause pro-inflammatory and pro-apoptotic events in endothelial cells (ECs) in the atheroprone environment. Under such conditions, ONOO− formation is increased in a d-flow-mediated PKCζ-dependent manner. Here, we propose a new signaling pathway involving d-flow-induced EC inflammation via PKCζ – ERK5 interaction-mediated downregulation of KLF2/eNOS stability, which leads to PKCζ-mediated p53-SUMOylation and EC apoptosis. In addition, we highlight several mechanisms contributing to endothelial dysfunction, focusing on the relations between flow patterns and activation of reactive oxygen species generating enzymes.
PMCID: PMC3620204  PMID: 22076424
Atherosclerosis; Blood flow; Endothelial dysfunction; Oxidative stress
3.  Flow Shear Stress and Atherosclerosis: A Matter of Site Specificity 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2011;15(5):1405-1414.
Abstract
It is well accepted that atherosclerosis occurs in a site-specific manner especially at branch points where disturbed blood flow (d-flow) predisposes to the development of plaques. Investigations both in vivo and in vitro have shown that d-flow is pro-atherogenic by promoting oxidative and inflammatory states in the artery wall. In contrast, steady laminar blood flow (s-flow) is atheroprotective by inhibition of oxidative stress and inflammation in the vessel wall. The mechanism for inflammation in endothelial cells (ECs) exposed to d-flow has been well studied and includes redox-dependent activation of apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) and Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) that ultimately lead to the expression of adhesive molecules. In contrast, s-flow leads to the activation of the mitogen extracellular-signal-regulated kinase kinase 5/extracellular signal-regulated kinase-5 (MEK5/ERK5) pathway that prevents pro-inflammatory signaling. Important transcriptional events that reflect the pro-oxidant and pro-inflammatory condition of ECs in d-flow include the activation of activator protein 1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor kappaB (NFκB), whereas in s-flow, activation of Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) and nuclear factor erythroid 2-like 2 (Nrf2) are dominant. Recent studies have shown that protein kinase c zeta (PKCζ) is highly activated under d-flow conditions and may represent a molecular switch for EC signaling and gene expression. The targeted modulation of proteins activated in a site-specific manner holds the promise for a new approach to limit atherosclerosis. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 15, 1405–1414.
doi:10.1089/ars.2010.3679
PMCID: PMC3144425  PMID: 21050140
4.  p90RSK targets the ERK5-CHIP ubiquitin E3 ligase activity in diabetic hearts and promotes cardiac apoptosis and dysfunction 
Circulation Research  2012;110(4):536-550.
Rationale
Cardiomyocyte apoptosis is one of the key events in the development and progression of heart failure, and a crucial role for ICER (inducible cAMP early repressor) in this process has been previously reported. ERK5 is known to inhibit cardiac apoptosis after myocardial infarction (MI), especially in hyperglycemic states, via association with CHIP ubiquitin (Ub) ligase and subsequent up-regulation of CHIP ligase activity, which induces ICER ubiquitination and subsequent protein degradation. The regulatory mechanism governing ERK5/CHIP interaction is unknown.
Objective
We previously demonstrated increased p90RSK activation in the diabetic heart. As a logical extension of this work, we now investigate whether p90RSK activation inhibits ERK5-mediated CHIP activation, and subsequently increases ICER levels and apoptosis.
Methods and Results
p90RSK activation inhibits ERK5/CHIP association and CHIP Ub ligase activity. p90RSK and CHIP share a common binding site in the ERK5 C-terminal domain (aa571-807). Overexpression of either p90RSK or an ERK5 fragment (aa571-807) inhibits ERK5/CHIP association, suggesting that p90RSK and CHIP competes for ERK5 binding and that p90RSK activation is critical for inhibiting ERK5/CHIP interaction. We also identified ERK5-S496 as being directly phosphorylated by p90RSK, and demonstrated that an ERK5-S496A mutant significantly impairs Angiotensin II-mediated inhibition of CHIP activity and subsequent increase in ICER levels. In vivo, either cardiac specific depletion of ERK5 or overexpression of p90RSK inhibits CHIP activity and accelerates cardiac apoptosis after MI--a phenomenon fully reversible by activating ERK5.
Conclusion
These data suggest a role for p90RSK in inhibiting CHIP activity and promoting cardiac apoptosis through binding to and phosphorylation of ERK5-S496.
doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.254730
PMCID: PMC3306797  PMID: 22267842
MAP kinase pathway; ubiquitin; diabetes mellitus (DM); myocardial infarction (MI); apoptosis
5.  Fluid shear stress inhibits TNF-mediated JNK activation via MEK5-BMK1 in endothelial cells 
Steady laminar blood flow protects vessels from atherosclerosis. We showed that flow decreased tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF)-mediated VCAM1 expression in endothelial cells (EC) by inhibiting JNK. Here we determined the relative roles of MEK1, MEK5 and their downstream kinases ERK1/2 and BMK1 (ERK5) in flow-mediated inhibition of JNK activation. Steady laminar flow (shear stress = 12 dynes/cm2) increased BMK1 and ERK1/2 activity in EC. Pre-exposing EC for 10 min to flow inhibited TNF activation of JNK by 58%. A key role for BMK1, but not ERK1/2 was shown. 1) Incubation of EC with PD184352, at concentrations that blocked ERK1/2, but not BMK1, had no effect on flow inhibition of TNF-mediated JNK activation. 2) BIX02188, a MEK5-selective inhibitor, completely reversed the inhibitory effects of flow. These findings indicate that flow inhibits TNF-mediated signaling events in EC by a mechanism dependent on activation of MEK5-BMK1, but not MEK1-ERK1/2. These results support a key role for the MEK5-BMK1 signaling pathway in the atheroprotective effects of blood flow.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.03.051
PMCID: PMC2435412  PMID: 18358237
fluid shear stress; endothelial cells; MAP kinase; TNF; inflammation
6.  The Hinge-Helix 1 Region of Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ1 (PPARγ1) Mediates Interaction with Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase 5 and PPARγ1 Transcriptional Activation: Involvement in Flow-Induced PPARγ Activation in Endothelial Cells 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(19):8691-8704.
Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR) are ligand-activated transcription factors that form a subfamily of the nuclear receptor gene family. Since both flow and PPARγ have atheroprotective effects and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5) kinase activity is significantly increased by flow, we investigated whether ERK5 kinase regulates PPARγ activity. We found that activation of ERK5 induced PPARγ1 activation in endothelial cells (ECs). However, we could not detect PPARγ phosphorylation by incubation with activated ERK5 in vitro, in contrast to ERK1/2 and JNK, suggesting a role for ERK5 as a scaffold. Endogenous PPARγ1 was coimmunoprecipitated with endogenous ERK5 in ECs. By mammalian two-hybrid analysis, we found that PPARγ1 associated with ERK5a at the hinge-helix 1 region of PPARγ1. Expressing a hinge-helix 1 region PPARγ1 fragment disrupted the ERK5a-PPARγ1 interaction, suggesting a critical role for hinge-helix 1 region of PPARγ in the ERK5-PPARγ interaction. Flow increased ERK5 and PPARγ1 activation, and the hinge-helix 1 region of the PPARγ1 fragment and dominant negative MEK5β significantly reduced flow-induced PPARγ activation. The dominant negative MEK5β also prevented flow-mediated inhibition of tumor necrosis factor alpha-mediated NF-κB activation and adhesion molecule expression, including vascular cellular adhesion molecule 1 and E-selectin, indicating a physiological role for ERK5 and PPARγ activation in flow-mediated antiinflammatory effects. We also found that ERK5 kinase activation was required, likely by inducing a conformational change in the NH2-terminal region of ERK5 that prevented association of ERK5 and PPARγ1. Furthermore, association of ERK5a and PPARγ1 disrupted the interaction of SMRT and PPARγ1, thereby inducing PPARγ activation. These data suggest that ERK5 mediates flow- and ligand-induced PPARγ activation via the interaction of ERK5 with the hinge-helix 1 region of PPARγ.
doi:10.1128/MCB.24.19.8691-8704.2004
PMCID: PMC516745  PMID: 15367687
7.  Homeodomain Interacting Protein Kinase 2 Activation Compromises Endothelial Cell Response to Laminar Flow: Protective Role of p21waf1,cip1,sdi1 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(8):e6603.
Background
In the cardiovascular system, laminar shear stress (SS) is one of the most important source of endothelial protecting signals. Physical and chemical agents, however, including ionising radiations and anticancer drugs, may injure endothelial cells determining an increase in oxidative stress and genotoxic damage. Whether the SS protective function remains intact in the presence of strong oxidants or DNA damage is currently unclear.
Methods and Results
To investigate this aspect a series of experiments were performed in which HUVEC were exposed to sub-lethal doses of the radio-mimetic compound Bleomycin (Bleo; 10 µg/ml) which generated free radicals (ROS) without significantly compromising cell survival. Remarkably, the application of a SS of 12 dyne/cm2 did not protect endothelial cells but markedly accelerated apoptosis compared to controls kept in static culture and in the presence of Bleo. Experiments with the inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) inhibitor GW274150 significantly reduced the SS-dependent apoptosis indicating that the production of NO was relevant for this effect. At molecular level, the ataxia-telangectasia-mutated (ATM) kinase, the homeodomain-interacting protein kinase-2 (HIPK2) and p53 were found activated along a pro-apoptotic signalling pathway while p21waf1,cip1,sdi1 was prevented from its protective action. RNA interference experiments revealed that HIPK2 and p53 were both important for this process, however, only the forced expression p21waf1,cip1,sdi1 fully restored the SS-dependent pro-survival function.
Conclusions
This study provides the first evidence that, in the presence of genotoxic damage, laminar flow contributes to endothelial toxicity and death and identifies molecular targets potentially relevant in endothelial dysfunction and cardiovascular disease pathogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006603
PMCID: PMC2719102  PMID: 19668373
8.  A Crucial Role for p90RSK-Mediated Reduction of ERK5 Transcriptional Activity in Endothelial Dysfunction and Atherosclerosis 
Circulation  2012;127(4):486-499.
Background
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a major risk factor for cardiovascular mortality by increasing endothelial cell (EC) dysfunction and subsequently accelerating atherosclerosis. Extracellular-signal regulated kinase 5 (ERK5) is activated by steady laminar flow and regulates EC function by increasing eNOS expression and inhibiting EC inflammation. However, the role and regulatory mechanisms of ERK5 in EC dysfunction and atherosclerosis are poorly understood. Here, we report the critical role of the p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (p90RSK)/ERK5 complex in EC dysfunction in DM and atherosclerosis.
Methods and Results
Inducible EC-specific ERK5 knockout (ERK5-EKO) mice showed increased leukocyte rolling and impaired vessel reactivity. To examine the role of endothelial ERK5 in atherosclerosis, we used inducible ERK5-EKO-LDLR−/− mice and observed increased plaque formation. When activated, p90RSK associated with ERK5, and this association inhibited ERK5 transcriptional activity and up-regulated VCAM-1 expression. In addition, p90RSK directly phosphorylated ERK5 S496 and reduced eNOS expression. p90RSK activity was increased in diabetic mouse vessels, and FMK-MEA, a specific p90RSK inhibitor, ameliorated EC-leukocyte recruitment and diminished vascular reactivity in DM mice. Interestingly, in ERK-EKO mice, increased leukocyte rolling and impaired vessel reactivity were resistant to the beneficial effects of FMK-MEA, suggesting a critical role for endothelial ERK5 in mediating the salutary effects of FMK-MEA on endothelial dysfunction. FMK-MEA also inhibited atherosclerosis formation in ApoE−/− mice.
Conclusions
Our study highlights the importance of the p90RSK/ERK5 module as a critical mediator of EC dysfunction in DM and atherosclerosis formation, thus revealing a potential new target for therapeutic intervention.
doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.116988
PMCID: PMC3574639  PMID: 23243209
Diabetes mellitus; endothelial dysfunction; p90RSK; ERK5; signal transduction
9.  Salvianolic Acid B Inhibits Hydrogen Peroxide-Induced Endothelial Cell Apoptosis through Regulating PI3K/Akt Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(12):e1321.
Background
Salvianolic acid B (Sal B) is one of the most bioactive components of Salvia miltiorrhiza, a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that has been commonly used for prevention and treatment of cerebrovascular disorders. However, the mechanism responsible for such protective effects remains largely unknown. It has been considered that cerebral endothelium apoptosis caused by reactive oxygen species including hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is implicated in the pathogenesis of cerebrovascular disorders.
Methodology and Principal Findings
By examining the effect of Sal B on H2O2-induced apoptosis in rat cerebral microvascular endothelial cells (rCMECs), we found that Sal B pretreatment significantly attenuated H2O2-induced apoptosis in rCMECs. We next examined the signaling cascade(s) involved in Sal B-mediated anti-apoptotic effects. We showed that H2O2 induces rCMECs apoptosis mainly through the PI3K/ERK pathway, since a PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) blocked ERK activation caused by H2O2 and a specific inhibitor of MEK (U0126) protected cells from apoptosis. On the other hand, blockage of the PI3K/Akt pathway abrogated the protective effect conferred by Sal B and potentated H2O2-induced apoptosis, suggesting that Sal B prevents H2O2-induced apoptosis predominantly through the PI3K/Akt (upstream of ERK) pathway.
Significance
Our findings provide the first evidence that H2O2 induces rCMECs apoptosis via the PI3K/MEK/ERK pathway and that Sal B protects rCMECs against H2O2-induced apoptosis through the PI3K/Akt/Raf/MEK/ERK pathway.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001321
PMCID: PMC2117346  PMID: 18091994
10.  Isoflurane Protects Against Human Endothelial Cell Apoptosis by Inducing Sphingosine Kinase-1 via ERK MAPK 
Endothelial dysfunction is a major clinical problem affecting virtually every patient requiring critical care. Volatile anesthetics are frequently used during the perioperative period and protect the heart and kidney against ischemia and reperfusion injury. We aimed to determine whether isoflurane, the most commonly used volatile anesthetic in the USA, protects against endothelial apoptosis and necrosis and the mechanisms involved in this protection. Human endothelial EA.hy926 cells were pretreated with isoflurane or carrier gas (95% room air + 5% CO2) then subjected to apoptosis with tumor necrosis factor-α or to necrosis with hydrogen peroxide. DNA laddering and in situ Terminal Deoxynucleotidyl Transferase Biotin-dUTP Nick-End Labeling (TUNEL) staining determined EA.hy926 cell apoptosis and percent LDH released determined necrosis. We also determined whether isoflurane modulates the expression and activity of sphingosine kinase-1 (SK1) and induces the phosphorylation of extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK MAPK) as both enzymes are known to protect against cell death. Isoflurane pretreatment significantly decreased apoptosis in EA.hy926 cells as evidenced by reduced TUNEL staining and DNA laddering without affecting necrosis. Mechanistically, isoflurane induces the phosphorylation of ERK MAPK and increased SK1 expression and activity in EA.hy926 cells. Finally, selective blockade of SK1 (with SKI-II) or S1P1 receptor (with W146) abolished the anti-apoptotic effects of isoflurane. Taken together, we demonstrate that isoflurane, in addition to its potent analgesic and anesthetic properties, protects against endothelial apoptosis most likely via SK1 and ERK MAPK activation. Our findings have significant clinical implication for protection of endothelial cells during the perioperative period and patients requiring critical care.
doi:10.3390/ijms13010977
PMCID: PMC3269732  PMID: 22312298
EA.hy926; sphingosine kinase; extracellular signal-regulated kinase; necrosis; volatile anesthetic
11.  Mechanisms for Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 Activation of ERK1/2 during Leukocyte Transendothelial Migration 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26706.
Background
During inflammation, adhesion molecules regulate recruitment of leukocytes to inflamed tissues. It is reported that vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) activates extracellular regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), but the mechanism for this activation is not known. Pharmacological inhibitors of ERK1/2 partially inhibit leukocyte transendothelial migration in a multi-receptor system but it is not known whether VCAM-1 activation of ERK1/2 is required for leukocyte transendothelial migration (TEM) on VCAM-1.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study, we identified a mechanism for VCAM-1 activation of ERK1/2 in human and mouse endothelial cells. VCAM-1 signaling, which occurs through endothelial cell NADPH oxidase, protein kinase Cα (PKCα), and protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B), activates endothelial cell ERK1/2. Inhibition of these signals blocked VCAM-1 activation of ERK1/2, indicating that ERK1/2 is activated downstream of PTP1B during VCAM-1 signaling. Furthermore, VCAM-1-specific leukocyte migration under physiological laminar flow of 2 dynes/cm2 was blocked by pretreatment of endothelial cells with dominant-negative ERK2 K52R or the MEK/ERK inhibitors, PD98059 and U0126, indicating for the first time that ERK regulates VCAM-1-dependent leukocyte transendothelial migration.
Conclusions/Significance
VCAM-1 activation of endothelial cell NADPH oxidase/PKCα/PTP1B induces transient ERK1/2 activation that is necessary for VCAM-1-dependent leukocyte TEM.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026706
PMCID: PMC3198778  PMID: 22031842
12.  Effect of shear stress and substrate on endothelial DAPK expression, caspase activity, and apoptosis 
BMC Research Notes  2013;6:10.
Background
In the vasculature, misdirected apoptosis in endothelial cells leads to pathological conditions such as inflammation. Along with biochemical and molecular signals, the hemodynamic forces that the cells experience are also important regulators of endothelial functions such as proliferation and apoptosis. Laminar shear stress inhibits apoptosis induced by serum depletion, oxidative stress, and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). Death associated protein kinase (DAPK) is a positive regulator of TNFα induced apoptotic pathway. Here we investigate the effect of shear stress on DAPK in endothelial cells on glass or silicone membrane substrate. We have already shown a link between shear stress and DAPK expression and apoptosis in cells on glass. Here we transition our study to endothelial cells on non-glass substrates, such as flexible silicone membrane used for cyclic strain studies.
Results
We modified the classic parallel plate flow chamber to accommodate silicone membrane as substrate for cells, and validated the chamber for cell viability in shear stress experiments. We found that adding shear stress significantly suppressed TNFα induced apoptosis in cells; while shearing cells alone also increased apoptosis on either substrate. We also found that shearing cells at 12 dynes/cm2 for 6 hours resulted in increased apoptosis on both substrates. This shear-induced apoptosis correlated with increased caspase 3/7 activities and DAPK expression and activation via dephosphorylation of serine 308.
Conclusion
These data suggest that shear stress induced apoptosis in endothelial cells via increased DAPK expression and activation as well as caspase-3/7 activity. Most in vitro shear stress studies utilize the conventional parallel plate flow chamber where cells are cultured on glass, which is much stiffer than what cells encounter in vivo. Other mechanotransduction studies have utilized the flexible silicone membrane as substrate, for example, in cyclic stretch studies. Thus, this study bridges the gap between shear stress studies on cells plated on glass to studies on different stiffness of substrates or mechanical stimulation such as cyclic strain. We continue to explore the mechanotransduction role of DAPK in endothelial apoptosis, by using substrates of physiological stiffness for shear stress studies, and by using silicone substrate in cyclic stretch devices.
doi:10.1186/1756-0500-6-10
PMCID: PMC3599066  PMID: 23305096
Shear stress; Substrate; DAPK; Apoptosis; TNFα
13.  Survival advantages conferred to colon cancer cells by E-selectin-induced activation of the PI3K-NFκB survival axis downstream of Death receptor-3 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:285.
Background
Extravasation of circulating cancer cells is a key event of metastatic dissemination that is initiated by the adhesion of cancer cells to endothelial cells. It requires interactions between adhesion receptors on endothelial cells and their counter-receptors on cancer cells. Notably, E-selectin, a major endothelial adhesion receptor, interacts with Death receptor-3 present on metastatic colon carcinoma cells. This interaction confers metastatic properties to colon cancer cells by promoting the adhesion of cancer cells to endothelial cells and triggering the activation of the pro-migratory p38 and pro-survival ERK pathways in the cancer cells. In the present study, we investigated further the mechanisms by which the E-selectin-activated pathways downstream of DR3 confer a survival advantage to colon cancer cells.
Methods
Cell survival has been ascertained by using the WST-1 assay and by evaluating the activation of the PI3 kinase/NFκB survival axis. Apoptosis has been assayed by determining DNA fragmentation by Hoechst staining and by measuring cleavage of caspases-8 and -3. DR3 isoforms have been identified by PCR. For more precise quantification, targeted PCR reactions were carried out, and the amplified products were analyzed by automated chip-based microcapillary electrophoresis on an Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer instrument.
Results
Interaction between DR3-expressing HT29 colon carcinoma cells and E-selectin induces the activation of the PI3K/Akt pathway. Moreover, p65/RelA, the anti-apoptotic subunit of NFκB, is rapidly translocated to the nucleus in response to E-selectin. This translocation is impaired by the PI3K inhibitor LY294002. Furthermore, inhibition of the PI3K/Akt pathway increases the cleavage of caspase 8 in colon cancer cells treated with E-selectin and this effect is still further increased when both ERK and PI3K pathways are concomitantly inhibited. Intriguingly, metastatic colon cancer cell lines such as HT29 and SW620 express higher levels of a splice variant of DR3 that has no trans-membrane domain and no death domain.
Conclusion
Colon cancer cells acquire an increased capacity to survive via the activation of the PI3K/NFκB pathway following the stimulation of DR3 by E-selectin. Generation of a DR3 splice variant devoid of death domain can further contribute to protect against apoptosis.
doi:10.1186/1471-2407-11-285
PMCID: PMC3177907  PMID: 21722370
Death receptor-3; E-selectin; colon cancer; PI3 kinase; splice variant
14.  A novel mechanism of γ/δ T-lymphocyte and endothelial activation by shear stress -- the role of ecto-ATP synthase β chain 
Circulation research  2010;108(4):410-417.
Rationale
Endothelial cells (ECs) have distinct mechanotransduction mechanisms responding to laminar versus disturbed flow patterns. Endothelial dysfunction, affected by imposed flow, is one of the earliest events leading to atherogenesis. The involvement of γ/δ T lymphocytes in endothelial dysfunction under flow is largely unknown.
Objective
To investigate whether shear stress regulates membrane translocation of ATP synthase β chain (ATPSβ) in ECs, leading to the increased γ/δ T-lymphocyte adhesion and the related functions.
Method and Results
We applied different flow patterns to cultured ECs. Laminar flow decreased the level of membrane-bound ATPSβ (ecto-ATPSβ) and depleted membrane cholesterol, whereas oscillatory flow increased the level of ecto-ATPSβ and membrane cholesterol. Incubating ECs with cholesterol or depleting cellular cholesterol with β-cyclodextrin mimicked the effect of oscillatory or laminar flow, respectively. Knockdown caveolin-1 by siRNA prevented ATPSβ translocation in response to laminar flow. Importantly, oscillatory flow or cholesterol treatment elevated the number of γ/δ T cells binding to ECs, which was blocked by anti-ATPSβ antibody. Furthermore, the incubation of γ/δ T cells with ECs increased TNFα and IFNγ secretion from T cells and VCAM-1 expression in ECs. In vivo, γ/δ T-cell adhesion and ATPSβ membrane translocation was elevated in the aortic inner curvature and disturbed flow areas in partially ligated carotid arteries of ApoE−/− mice fed a high-fat diet.
Conclusion
This study provides evidence that disturbed flow and hypercholesterolemia synergistically promote γ/δ T-lymphocyte activation by the membrane translocation of ATPSβ in ECs and in vivo in mice, which is a novel mechanism of endothelial activation.
doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.110.230151
PMCID: PMC3053136  PMID: 21193741
Endothelial dysfunction; T lymphocyte; Blood flow; Mechanotransduction; ATP synthase
15.  Baicalein, an active component of Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi, prevents lysophosphatidylcholine-induced cardiac injury by reducing reactive oxygen species production, calcium overload and apoptosis via MAPK pathways 
Background
Lysophosphatidylcholine (lysoPC), a metabolite from membrane phospholipids, accumulates in the ischemic myocardium and plays an important role in the development of myocardial dysfunction ventricular arrhythmia. In this study, we investigated if baicalein, a major component of Huang Qui, can protect against lysoPC-induced cytotoxicity in rat H9c2 embryonic cardiomyocytes.
Methods
Cell viability was detected by the MTT assay; ROS levels were assessed using DCFH-DA; and intracellular free calcium concentrations were assayed by spectrofluorophotometer. Cell apoptosis and necrosis were evaluated by the flow cytometry assay and Hoechst staining. Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases (MAPKs), which included the ERK, JNK, and p38, and the apoptotic mechanisms including Bcl-2/Bax, caspase-3, caspase-9 and cytochrome c pathways were examined by Western blot analysis. The activation of MAPKs was examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results
We found that lysoPC induced death and apoptosis of H9c2 cells in a dose-dependent manner. Baicalein could prevent lysoPC-induced cell death, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and increase of intracellular calcium concentration in H9c2 cardiomyoctes. In addition, baicalein also inhibited lysoPC-induced apoptosis, with associated decreased pro-apoptotic Bax protein, increased anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 protein, resulting in an increase in the Bcl-2/Bax ratio. Finally, baicalein attenuated lysoPC-induced the expression of cytochrome c, casapase-3, casapase-9, and the phosphorylations of ERK1/2, JNK, and p38. LysoPC-induced ERK1/2, JNK, and p38 activations were inhibited by baicalein.
Conclusions
Baicalein protects cardiomyocytes from lysoPC-induced apoptosis by reducing ROS production, inhibition of calcium overload, and deactivations of MAPK signaling pathways.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-233
PMCID: PMC4227070  PMID: 25012390
Baicalein; Lysophosphatidylcholine; Apoptosis; Reactive oxygen species; Calcium
16.  E3 Ubiquitin Ligase CHIP and NBR1-Mediated Selective Autophagy Protect Additively against Proteotoxicity in Plant Stress Responses 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(1):e1004116.
Plant stress responses require both protective measures that reduce or restore stress-inflicted damage to cellular structures and mechanisms that efficiently remove damaged and toxic macromolecules, such as misfolded and damaged proteins. We have recently reported that NBR1, the first identified plant autophagy adaptor with a ubiquitin-association domain, plays a critical role in plant stress tolerance by targeting stress-induced, ubiquitinated protein aggregates for degradation by autophagy. Here we report a comprehensive genetic analysis of CHIP, a chaperone-associated E3 ubiquitin ligase from Arabidopsis thaliana implicated in mediating degradation of nonnative proteins by 26S proteasomes. We isolated two chip knockout mutants and discovered that they had the same phenotypes as the nbr1 mutants with compromised tolerance to heat, oxidative and salt stresses and increased accumulation of insoluble proteins under heat stress. To determine their functional interactions, we generated chip nbr1 double mutants and found them to be further compromised in stress tolerance and in clearance of stress-induced protein aggregates, indicating additive roles of CHIP and NBR1. Furthermore, stress-induced protein aggregates were still ubiquitinated in the chip mutants. Through proteomic profiling, we systemically identified heat-induced protein aggregates in the chip and nbr1 single and double mutants. These experiments revealed that highly aggregate-prone proteins such as Rubisco activase and catalases preferentially accumulated in the nbr1 mutant while a number of light-harvesting complex proteins accumulated at high levels in the chip mutant after a relatively short period of heat stress. With extended heat stress, aggregates for a large number of intracellular proteins accumulated in both chip and nbr1 mutants and, to a greater extent, in the chip nbr1 double mutant. Based on these results, we propose that CHIP and NBR1 mediate two distinct but complementary anti-proteotoxic pathways and protein's propensity to aggregate under stress conditions is one of the critical factors for pathway selection of protein degradation.
Author Summary
Environmental stresses such as heat cause generation of misfolded and damaged proteins, which are highly toxic and must be efficiently removed. In plants, NBR1, the first isolated autophagy receptor with an ubiquitin-association domain, plays a critical role in plant stress tolerance by targeting ubiquitinated protein aggregates under stress conditions for degradation by autophagy. To study how stress-induced misfolded and damaged proteins are detected and ubiquitinated in plant cells, we analyzed the chaperone-associated E3 ubiquitin ligase CHIP from Arabidopsis thaliana for its role in protection against proteotoxicity in plant stress responses. Disruption of Arabidopsis CHIP caused increased sensitivity to a spectrum of abiotic stresses as found in the Arabidopsis nbr1 mutants. Disruption of both Arabidopsis CHIP and NBR1 further compromised plant stress tolerance, indicating that their roles are additive. Furthermore, in the chip nbr1 double mutant, compromised heat tolerance was associated with increased accumulation of insoluble proteins derived mostly from heat-sensitive but biologically important proteins such as Rubisco activase, catalases and proteins required for protein synthesis and folding. Importantly, stress-induced protein aggregates were still highly ubiquitinated in the chip mutants. These results strongly suggest that CHIP and NBR1 function in two distinct but complementary anti-proteotoxic pathways in plant stress responses.
doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004116
PMCID: PMC3907298  PMID: 24497840
17.  C-Terminus of Heat Shock Protein 70–Interacting Protein–Dependent GTP Cyclohydrolase I Degradation in Lambs with Increased Pulmonary Blood Flow 
We showed that nitric oxide (NO) signaling is decreased in the pulmonary vasculature before the development of endothelial dysfunction in a lamb model of congenital heart disease and increased pulmonary blood flow (Shunt). The elucidation of the molecular mechanism by which this occurs was the purpose of this study. Here, we demonstrate that concentrations of the endogenous NO synthase (NOS) inhibitor, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA), are elevated, whereas the NOS cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is decreased in Shunt lambs. Our previous studies demonstrated that ADMA decreases heat shock protein–90 (Hsp90) chaperone activity, whereas other studies suggest that guanosine-5′-triphosphate cyclohydrolase 1 (GCH1), the rate-limiting enzyme in the generation of BH4, may be a client protein for Hsp90. Thus, we determined whether increases in ADMA could alter GCH1 protein and activity. Our data demonstrate that ADMA decreased GCH1 protein, but not mRNA concentrations, in pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (PAECs) because of the ubiquitination and proteasome-dependent degradation of GCH1. We also found that Hsp90–GCH1 interactions were reduced, whereas the association of GCH1 with Hsp70 and the C-terminus of Hsp70-interacting protein (CHIP) increased in ADMA-exposed PAECs. The overexpression of CHIP potentiated, whereas a CHIP U-box domain mutant attenuated, ADMA-induced GCH1 degradation and reductions in cellular BH4 concentrations. We also found in vivo that Hsp90/GCH1 interactions are decreased, whereas GCH1–Hsp70 and GCH1–CHIP interactions and GCH1 ubiquitination are increased. Finally, we found that supplementation with l-arginine restored Hsp90–GCH1 interactions and increased both BH4 and NOx concentrations in Shunt lambs. In conclusion, increased concentrations of ADMA can indirectly alter NO signaling through decreased cellular BH4 concentrations, secondary to the disruption of Hsp90–GCH1 interactions and the CHIP-dependent proteasomal degradation of GCH1.
doi:10.1165/rcmb.2009-0467OC
PMCID: PMC3145069  PMID: 20870896
proteasome; ubiquitination; Hsp90; Hsp70; mitochondrial dysfunction
18.  Cross-Talk between CLL Cells and Bone Marrow Endothelial Cells: Role of Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription-3 
Human pathology  2011;42(12):1989-2000.
Summary
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) bone marrow is characterized by increased angiogenesis. However, the molecular mediators of neovascularization and the biological significance of increased endothelial cell proliferation in CLL require further investigation. Because signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-3 is constitutively activated in CLL we studied the role of STAT3 in modulating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression and the effect of vascular endothelial cells on CLL cells. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) we found that anti-STAT3 antibodies immunoprecipitated DNA of STAT3, VEGF and other STAT3-regulated genes. In addition, STAT3-short interfering RNA significantly reduced mRNA levels of VEGF in CLL cells suggesting that STAT3 induces VEGF expression in CLL. Remarkably, bone marrow CLL cells expressed high levels of VEGF and high VEGF levels were detected in the plasma of patients with untreated CLL and correlated with white blood cell count. CLL bone marrow biopsies revealed increased microvascular density and attachment of CLL cells to endothelial cells. Co-culture of CLL and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) cells showed a similar attachment. Furthermore, co-culture studies with HUVEC showed that HUVEC protected CLL cells from spontaneous apoptosis by direct cell-to-cell contact as assessed by flow cytometry using Annexin V. Our data suggest that constitutively activated STAT3 induces VEGF production by CLL cells and CLL cells derive a survival advantage from endothelial cells via cell-to cell contact.
doi:10.1016/j.humpath.2011.02.027
PMCID: PMC4085742  PMID: 21733558
CLL; STAT3; VEGF; Endothelial cells; Stroma
19.  C-Terminus of Heat Shock Cognate 70 Interacting Protein Increases Following Stroke and Impairs Survival Against Acute Oxidative Stress 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2011;14(10):1787-1801.
Abstract
The decision to remove or refold oxidized, denatured, or misfolded proteins by heat shock protein 70 and its binding partners is critical to determine cell fate under pathophysiological conditions. Overexpression of the ubiquitin ligase C-terminus of HSC70 interacting protein (CHIP) can compensate for failure of other ubiquitin ligases and enhance protein turnover and survival under chronic neurological stress. The ability of CHIP to alter cell fate after acute neurological injury has not been assessed. Using postmortem human tissue samples, we provide the first evidence that cortical CHIP expression is increased after ischemic stroke. Oxygen glucose deprivation in vitro led to rapid protein oxidation, antioxidant depletion, proteasome dysfunction, and a significant increase in CHIP expression. To determine if CHIP upregulation enhances neural survival, we overexpressed CHIP in vitro and evaluated cell fate 24 h after acute oxidative stress. Surprisingly, CHIP overexpressing cells fared worse against oxidative injury, accumulated more ubiquitinated and oxidized proteins, and experienced decreased proteasome activity. Conversely, using small interfering RNA to decrease CHIP expression in primary neuronal cultures improved survival after oxidative stress, suggesting that increases in CHIP observed after stroke like injuries are likely correlated with diminished survival and may negatively impact the neuroprotective potential of heat shock protein 70. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 14, 1787–1801.
doi:10.1089/ars.2010.3300
PMCID: PMC3078511  PMID: 20677910
20.  CHIP can remodel mature AhR complexes and mediate ubiquitination of both the AhR and the hsp90 in vitro.* 
Biochemistry  2007;46(2):610-621.
The regulation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) protein levels has been an area of keen interest, given its important role in mediating the cellular adaptation and toxic response to several environmental pollutants. The carboxyl terminus of hsc70- interacting protein (CHIP) ubiquitin ligase was previously associated with the regulation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, although the mechanisms were not directly demonstrated. In this study we established that CHIP could associate with the AhR at cellular levels of these two proteins, suggesting a potential role for CHIP in the regulation of the AhR complex. The analysis of sucrose gradient fractionated in vitro translated AhR complexes revealed that CHIP can mediate hsp90 ubiquitination, while cooperating with unidentified factors to promote the ubiquitination of mature unliganded AhR complexes. In addition, the immunophilin-like protein XAP2 was able to partially protect the AhR from CHIP mediated ubiquitination in vitro. This protection required the direct interaction of the XAP2 with the AhR complex. Surprisingly, CHIP silencing in Hepa- 1c1c7 cells by siRNA methods did not reveal the function of CHIP in the AhR complex, as it did not affect well characterized activities of the AhR nor affected its steady-state protein levels. However, the presence of potential compensatory mechanisms may beconfounding this particular observation. Our results suggests a model where the E3 ubiquitin ligase CHIP cooperates with other ubiquitination factors to remodel native AhR-hsp90 complexes and that co-chaperones such as the XAP2 may affect the ability of CHIP to arget AhR complexes for ubiquitination.
doi:10.1021/bi062165b
PMCID: PMC2527729  PMID: 17209571
AhR; hsp90; hsc70; hsp70; hsp40; CHIP; HOP; XAP2; p23; TCDD; geldanamycin; ubiquitin; proteasome; E3 ubiquitin ligases; SCF; p53; Skp2; cullin; F-box; hsc70-interacting protein; Ub-K0; Ub-K11; Ub-K29; Ub-K48; Ub-K63; Ub-K48R; K48R-Ub; calpain
21.  Liraglutide attenuates high glucose-induced abnormal cell migration, proliferation, and apoptosis of vascular smooth muscle cells by activating the GLP-1 receptor, and inhibiting ERK1/2 and PI3K/Akt signaling pathways 
Background
As a new anti-diabetic medicine, Liraglutide (LIRA), one of GLP-1 analogues, has been found to have an anti-atherosclerotic effect. Since vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) play pivotal roles in the occurrence of diabetic atherosclerosis, it is important to investigate the role of LIRA in reducing the harmful effects of high-glucose (HG) treatment in cultured VSMCs, and identifying associated molecular mechanisms.
Methods
Primary rat VSMCs were exposed to low or high glucose-containing medium with or without LIRA. They were challenged with HG in the presence of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, or glucagon-like peptide receptor (GLP-1R) inhibitors. Cell proliferation and viability was evaluated using a Cell Counting Kit-8. Cell migration was determined by Transwell migration and scratch wound assays. Flow cytometry and Western blotting were used to determine apoptosis and protein expression, respectively.
Results
Under the HG treatment, VSMCs exhibited increased migration, proliferation, and phosphorylation of protein kinase B (Akt) and ERK1/2, along with reduced apoptosis (all p < 0.01 vs. control). These effects were significantly attenuated with LIRA co-treatment (all p < 0.05 vs. HG alone). Inhibition of PI3K kinase and ERK1/2 similarly attenuated the HG-induced effects (all p < 0.01 vs. HG alone). GLP-1R inhibitors effectively reversed the beneficial effects of LIRA on HG treatment (all p < 0.05).
Conclusions
HG treatment may induce abnormal phenotypes in VSMCs via PI3K and ERK1/2 signaling pathways activated by GLP-1R, and LIRA may protect cells from HG damage by acting on these same pathways.
doi:10.1186/s12933-015-0177-4
PMCID: PMC4327797
Akt; ERK1/2; Glucagon-like peptide receptor; High glucose; Liraglutide; Vascular smooth muscle cells
22.  CREG Promotes the Proliferation of Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells through the ERK/Cyclin E Signaling Pathway 
Cellular repressor of E1A-stimulated genes (CREG) is a recently discovered secreted glycoprotein involved in homeostatic modulation. We previously reported that CREG is abundantly expressed in the adult vascular endothelium and dramatically downregulated in atherosclerotic lesions. In addition, CREG participates in the regulation of apoptosis, inflammation and wound healing of vascular endothelial cells. In the present study, we attempted to investigate the effect of CREG on the proliferation of vascular endothelial cells and to decipher the underlying molecular mechanisms. Overexpression of CREG in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) was obtained by infection with adenovirus carrying CREG. HUVEC proliferation was investigated by flow cytometry and 5-bromo-2′-deoxy-uridine (BrdU) incorporation assays. The expressions of cyclins, cyclin-dependent kinases and signaling molecules were also examined. In CREG-overexpressing cells, we observed a marked increase in the proportion of the S and G2 population and a decrease in the G0/G1 phase population. The number of BrdU positively-stained cells also increased, obviously. Furthermore, silencing of CREG expression by specific short hairpin RNA effectively inhibited the proliferation of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC). CREG overexpression induced the expression of cyclin E in both protein and mRNA levels to regulate cell cycle progression. Further investigation using inhibitor blocking analysis identified that ERK activation mediated the CREG modulation of the proliferation and cyclin E expression in HUVEC. In addition, blocking vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in CREG-overexpressed HUVEC and supplementation of VEGF in CREG knocked-down HUVEC identified that the pro-proliferative effect of CREG was partially mediated by VEGF-induced ERK/cyclin E activation. These results suggest a novel role of CREG to promote HUVEC proliferation through the ERK/cyclin E signaling pathway.
doi:10.3390/ijms140918437
PMCID: PMC3794788  PMID: 24018888
CREG; HUVEC; proliferation; cyclin E; ERK
23.  Hdm2 is an Ubiquitin Ligase of Ku70 -Akt Promotes Cell Survival by Inhibiting Hdm2-dependent Ku70 Destabilization 
Cell death and differentiation  2009;16(5):758-769.
Previously, we reported that Ku70 binds and inhibits Bax activity in the cytosol, and that ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis of cytosolic Ku70 facilitates Bax-mediated apoptosis. We found that Hdm2 (Human Homologue of Murine Double Minute) has an ability to ubiquitinate Ku70 and that Hdm2 overexpression in cultured cells causes a decrease in Ku70 expression levels. An interaction between Ku70 and Hdm2 was demonstrated by means of immunoprecipitation, while none could be shown between Ku80 and Hdm2. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is known to inhibit endothelial cell (EC) apoptosis through an Akt-mediated survival kinase signal, however, the mechanism underlying this inhibition of apoptosis has not been fully elucidated. We found that VEGF inhibited cytosolic Ku70 degradation induced by apoptotic stress. It is known that Akt-dependent phosphorylation of Hdm2 causes nuclear translocation of Hdm2 followed by Hdm2-mediated inactivation of p53. We found that VEGF stimulated nuclear translocation of Hdm2 in EC, and efficiently inhibited Ku70 degradation. We also found that constitutively active Akt, but not kinase-dead Akt, inhibited Ku70 degradation in the cytosol. Furthermore, Ku70 knock-down diminished anti-apoptotic activity of Akt. Taken together, we propose that Hdm2 is a Ku70 ubiquitin ligase and that Akt inhibits Bax-mediated apoptosis, at least in part, by maintaining Ku70 levels through the promotion of Hdm2 nuclear translocation.
doi:10.1038/cdd.2009.6
PMCID: PMC2669846  PMID: 19247369
24.  Induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in caspase-3 deficient MCF-7 cells by Dillenia suffruticosa root extract via multiple signalling pathways 
Background
Dillenia suffruticosa root dichloromethane extract (DCM-DS) has been reported to exhibit strong cytotoxicity towards breast cancer cells. The present study was designed to investigate the cell cycle profile, mode of cell death and signalling pathways of DCM-DS-treated human caspase-3 deficient MCF-7 breast cancer cells.
Methods
Dillenia suffruticosa root was extracted by sequential solvent extraction. The anti-proliferative activity of DCM-DS was determined by using MTT assay. The mode of cell death was evaluated by using inverted light microscope and Annexin-V/PI-flow cytometry analysis. Cell cycle analysis and measurement of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) were performed by using flow cytometry. MCF-7 cells were co-treated with antioxidants α-tocopherol and ascorbic acid to evaluate whether the cell death was mainly due to oxidative stress. GeXP-based multiplex system was employed to investigate the expression of apoptotic, growth and survival genes in MCF-7 cells. Western blot analysis was performed to confirm the expression of the genes.
Results
DCM-DS was cytotoxic to the MCF-7 cells in a time-and dose-dependent manner. The IC50 values of DCM-DS at 24, 48 and 72 hours were 20.3 ± 2.8, 17.8 ± 1.5 and 15.5 ± 0.5 μg/mL, respectively. Cell cycle analysis revealed that DCM-DS induced G0/G1 and G2/M phase cell cycle arrest in MCF-7 cells at low concentration (12.5 and 25 μg/mL) and high concentration (50 μg/mL), respectively. Although Annexin-V/PI-flow cytometry analysis has confirmed that DCM-DS induced apoptosis in MCF-7 cells, the distinct characteristics of apoptosis such as membrane blebbing, chromatin condensation, nuclear fragmentation and formation of apoptotic bodies were not observed under microscope. DCM-DS induced formation of ROS in MCF-7 cells. Nevertheless, co-treatment with antioxidants did not attenuate the cell death at low concentration of DCM-DS. The pro-apoptotic gene JNK was up-regulated whereby anti-apoptotic genes AKT1 and ERK1/2 were down-regulated in a dose-dependent manner. Western blot analysis has confirmed that DCM-DS significantly up-regulated the expression of pro-apoptotic JNK1, pJNK and down-regulated anti-apoptotic AKT1, ERK1 in MCF-7 cells.
Conclusion
DCM-DS induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in MCF-7 cells via multiple signalling pathways. It shows the potential of DCM-DS to be developed to target the cancer cells with mutant caspase-3.
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-197
PMCID: PMC4096536  PMID: 24947113
Dillenia suffruticosa; Dichloromethane extract; Cell cycle; Apoptosis; Oxidative stress
25.  Association of MEK5 with ERK5, but not ERK5 kinase activation, inhibits small ubiquitin-related modification of ERK5 kinase (ERK5-SUMOylation), and prevents diabetes-mediated exacerbation of left ventricular dysfunction after myocardial infarction 
Circulation research  2008;102(11):1416-1425.
Diabetes (DM) contributes to the exacerbation of left ventricle (LV) dysfunction after myocardial infarction (MI). Activation of ERK5, an atypical mitogen activated protein kinase with transcriptional activity, inhibits apoptosis and LV dysfunction after doxorubicin treatment. SUMOylation has been proposed as a negative regulator of various transcription factors. In the current study, we investigated the role of ERK5-SUMOylation in ERK5 transcriptional activity as well as on DM-mediated exacerbation of LV dysfunction and apoptosis after MI. ERK5 wild type transcriptional activity was inhibited by Ubc9 (SUMO E2 conjugase) or PIAS1 (E3 ligase), but not in the ERK5-SUMOylation-site defective mutant (K6R/K22R). H2O2 and high glucose, two well-known mediators of diabetes, induced ERK5-SUMOylation, and the K6R/K22R mutant, dominant negative form of Ubc9, and siRNA-PIAS1 reversed H2O2-mediated reduction of ERK5 transcriptional activity in cardiomyocytes, indicating the presence of SUMOylation-dependent ERK5 transcriptional repression. Constitutively active form of MEK5α (CA-MEK5α) inhibited ERK5-SUMOylation independent of kinase activity, but dependent on MEK5-ERK5 association. To investigate the pathological role of ERK5-SUMOylation in DM mice after MI, we utilized cardiac specific CA-MEK5α transgenic mice (CA-MEK5α-Tg). MI was induced in streptozotocin (STZ)-injected (DM + MI group) or vehicle-injected mice (MI group) by ligating the left coronary artery. The ERK5-SUMOylation was increased in the DM + MI, but not in the MI group. ERK5-SUMOylation, the exacerbation of LV dysfunction, and the number of TUNEL positive cells in DM + MI was significantly inhibited in CA-MEK5α-Tg mice. Of note, we could not detect any difference of cardiac function after MI in non-diabetic CA-MEK5α-Tg and non-transgenic littermate control mice. These results demonstrated that ERK5 transcriptional activity is subject to down regulation by diabetes-dependent SUMOylation, which resulted in a pro-apoptotic condition contributing to poor post-MI LV function.
doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.107.168138
PMCID: PMC2614366  PMID: 18467627
ERK5; SUMOylation; diabetes; myocardial infarction; apoptosis

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