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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Regulation of cytokine-inducible nitric oxide synthase in cardiac myocytes and microvascular endothelial cells. Role of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/ERK2) and STAT1 alpha.

Adult rat ventricular myocytes and cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMEC) both express an inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS or NOS2) following exposure to soluble inflammatory mediators. However, NOS2 gene expression is regulated differently in response to specific cytokines in each cell type. Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) induces NOS2 in both, whereas interferon gamma (IFN gamma) induces NOS2 expression in myocytes but not in CMEC. Therefore, we examined the specific signal transduction pathways that could regulate NOS2 mRNA levels, including activation of 44- and 42-kDa mitogenactivated protein kinases (MAPKs; ERK1/ERK2) and STAT1 alpha, a transcriptional regulatory protein linked to cell membrane receptors. Although IL-1 beta treatment increased ERK1/ERK2 activities in both cell types, IFN gamma activated these MAPKs only in myocytes. STAT1 alpha phosphorylation, consistent with IFN gamma-induced signaling, was readily apparent in both cell types, and binding of activated STAT1 alpha from cytoplasmic or nuclear fractions from IFN gamma-treated adult myocytes to a sis-inducible element could be demonstrated by gel-shift assay. The farnesyl transferase inhibitor BZA-5B blocked activation of ERK1/ERK2 and induction of NOS2 by IFN gamma and IL-1 beta in myocytes. IL-1 beta and IFN gamma- induced NOS2 gene expression in myocytes was also down-regulated by both protein kinase C ( PKC) desensitization and by the PKC inhibitor bisindolylmaleimide, implicating PKC- linked activation of Ras or Raf in the induction of NOS2 by IL-1 beta and IFN gamma in cardiac muscle cells. In CMEC, the MAPK kinase inhibitor PD 98059 blocked activation of ERK1/ERK2 and down-regulated IL-1 beta-mediated NOS2 induction, whereas activation of ERK2 in the absence of cytokines by okadaic acid, an inhibitor of phosphoserine protein phosphatases, also induced NOS2 mRNA. These data demonstrate that ERK1/ERK2 activation appears to be necessary for the induction of NOS2 by IL-1 beta and IFN gamma in cardiac myocytes and CMEC. In the absence of ERK1/ERK2 activation by IFN gamma in CMEC, phosphorylation of STAT1 alpha is not sufficient for NOS2 gene expression. These overlapping yet distinct cellular responses to specific cytokines may serve to target NOS2 gene expression to specific cells or regions within the heart and also provide for rapid escalation of NO production if required for host defense.[1]


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