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Find video protocols related to scientific articles indexed in Pubmed.
Aging impairs smooth muscle-mediated regulation of aortic stiffness: a defect in shock absorption function?
Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 08-15-2014
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Increased aortic stiffness is an early and independent biomarker of cardiovascular disease. Here we tested the hypothesis that vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) contribute significantly to aortic stiffness and investigated the mechanisms involved. The relative contributions of VSMCs, focal adhesions (FAs), and matrix to stiffness in mouse aorta preparations at optimal length and with confirmed VSMC viability were separated by the use of small-molecule inhibitors and activators. Using biomechanical methods designed for minimal perturbation of cellular function, we directly quantified changes with aging in aortic material stiffness. An alpha adrenoceptor agonist, in the presence of N(G)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME) to remove interference of endothelial nitric oxide, increases stiffness by 90-200% from baseline in both young and old mice. Interestingly, increases are robustly suppressed by the Src kinase inhibitor PP2 in young but not old mice. Phosphotyrosine screening revealed, with aging, a biochemical signature of markedly impaired agonist-induced FA remodeling previously associated with Src signaling. Protein expression measurement confirmed a decrease in Src expression with aging. Thus we report here an additive model for the in vitro biomechanical components of the mouse aortic wall in which 1) VSMCs are a surprisingly large component of aortic stiffness at physiological lengths and 2) regulation of the VSMC component through FA signaling and hence plasticity is impaired with aging, diminishing the aorta's normal shock absorption function in response to stressors.
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The contribution of vascular smooth muscle to aortic stiffness across length scales.
Microcirculation
PUBLISHED: 03-19-2014
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The operation of the cardiovascular system in health and disease is inherently mechanical. Clinically, aortic stiffness has proven to be of critical importance as an early biomarker for subsequent cardiovascular disease; however, the mechanisms involved in aortic stiffening are still unclear. The etiology of aortic stiffening with age has been thought to primarily involve changes in extracellular matrix protein composition and quantity, but recent studies suggest a significant involvement of the differentiated contractile vascular smooth muscle cells in the vessel wall. Here, we provide an overview of vascular physiology and biomechanics at different spatial scales. The processes involved in aortic stiffening are examined with particular attention given to recent discoveries regarding the role of vascular smooth muscle.
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Mechanism of calponin stabilization of cross-linked actin networks.
Biophys. J.
PUBLISHED: 02-25-2014
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The actin-binding protein calponin has been previously implicated in actin cytoskeletal regulation and is thought to act as an actin stabilizer, but the mechanism of its function is poorly understood. To investigate this underlying physical mechanism, we studied an in vitro model system of cross-linked actin using bulk rheology. Networks with basic calponin exhibited a delayed onset of strain stiffening (10.0% without calponin, 14.9% with calponin) and were able to withstand a higher maximal strain before failing (35% without calponin, 56% with calponin). Using fluorescence microscopy to study the mechanics of single actin filaments, we found that calponin increased the flexibility of actin filaments, evident as a decrease in persistence length from 17.6 ?m without to 7.7 ?m with calponin. Our data are consistent with current models of affine strain behavior in semiflexible polymer networks, and suggest that calponin stabilization of actin networks can be explained purely by changes in single-filament mechanics. We propose a model in which calponin stabilizes actin networks against shear through a reduction of persistence length of individual filaments.
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The neurodegenerative effects of selenium are inhibited by FOXO and PINK1/PTEN regulation of insulin/insulin-like growth factor signaling in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Neurotoxicology
PUBLISHED: 01-06-2014
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Exposures to high levels of environmental selenium have been associated with motor neuron disease in both animals and humans and high levels of selenite have been identified in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). We have shown previously that exposures to high levels of sodium selenite in the environment of Caenorhabditis elegans adult animals can induce neurodegeneration and cell loss resulting in motor deficits and death and that this is at least partially caused by a reduction in cholinergic signaling across the neuromuscular junction. Here we provide evidence that reduction in insulin/insulin-like (IIS) signaling alters response to high dose levels of environmental selenium which in turn can regulate the IIS pathway. Most specifically we show that nuclear localization and thus activation of the DAF-16/forkhead box transcription factor occurs in response to selenium exposure although this was not observed in motor neurons of the ventral cord. Yet, tissue specific expression and generalized overexpression of DAF-16 can partially rescue the neurodegenerative and behavioral deficits observed with high dose selenium exposures in not only the cholinergic, but also the GABAergic motor neurons. In addition, two modifiers of IIS signaling, PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog, deleted on chromosome 10) and PINK1 (PTEN-induced putative kinase 1) are required for the cellular antioxidant reduced glutathione to mitigate the selenium-induced movement deficits. Studies have suggested that environmental exposures can lead to ALS or other neurological diseases and this model of selenium-induced neurodegeneration developed in a genetically tractable organism provides a tool for examining the combined roles of genetics and environment in the neuro-pathologic disease process.
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Electrospray Ionization (ESI) Fragmentations and Dimethyldioxirane Reactivities of Three Diverse Lactams Having Full, Half, and Zero Resonance Energies.
J. Org. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 12-30-2013
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Three lactams having, respectively, ?20, ?10, and 0 kcal/mol of resonance energy have been subjected to electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI/MS) as well as to attempted reaction with dimethyldioxirane (DMDO). The ESI/MS for all three lactams are consistent with fragmentation from the N-protonated, rather than the O-protonated tautomer. Each exhibits a unique fragmentation pathway. DFT calculations are employed to provide insights concerning these pathways. N-Ethyl-2-pyrrolidinone and 1-azabicyclo[3.3.1]nonan-2-one, the full- and half-resonance lactams, are unreactive with DMDO. The "Kirby lactam" (3,5,7-trimethyl-1-azaadamantan-2-one) has zero resonance energy and reacts rapidly with DMDO to generate a mixture of reaction products. The structure assigned to one of these is the 2,2-dihydroxy-N-oxide, thought to be stabilized by intramolecular hydrogen bonding and buttressing by the methyl substituents. A reasonable pathway to this derivative might involve formation of an extremely labile N-oxide, in a purely formal sense, an example of the hitherto-unknown amide N-oxides, followed by hydration with traces of moisture.
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The importance of the smooth muscle cytoskeleton for pre-term labour.
Exp. Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 10-11-2013
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Multiple regulatory mechanisms have been shown to regulate the onset of labour in a cooperative and complex manner. One factor, myometrial stretch and associated increases in wall tension have been implicated clinically in the initiation of labour and especially the etiology of preterm labour. Recent work on the mechanisms involved has led to the finding that the intracellular Ca requirement for activation of the myometrial contractile filaments increases during gestation. The decreased Ca sensitivity correlates with an increase in the expression of caldesmon, an actin binding protein and inhibitor of myosin activation, during pregnancy. In late pregnancy, an increase in extracellular signal-regulated kinase-mediated caldesmon phosphorylation occurs which appears to reverse caldesmons inhibitory action during labour. Force generated by the myometrial contractile filaments is communicated across the plasmalemma to the uterine wall through focal adhesions. Phospho-tyrosine screening and mass spectrometry of stretched myometrial samples identified several stretch-activated focal adhesion proteins. This Src mediated focal adhesion signaling appears to provide a tunable, i.e. regulated, tension sensor and force transmitter in the myometrial cell. In other parallel studies, biophysical measurements of smooth muscle compliance at both the cellular and tissue levels suggest that decreases in cellular compliance due to changing interactions of the actin cytoskeleton with the focal adhesions may also promote increases in uterine wall tension. These results, taken together, suggest that focal adhesion proteins and their interaction with the cytoskeleton may present a new mode of regulation of uterine contractility.
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Regulation of PKC Autophosphorylation by Calponin in Contractile Vascular Smooth Muscle Tissue.
Biomed Res Int
PUBLISHED: 08-20-2013
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Protein kinase C (PKC) is a key enzyme involved in agonist-induced smooth muscle contraction. In some cases, regulatory phosphorylation of PKC is required for full activation of the enzyme. However, this issue has largely been ignored with respect to PKC-dependent regulation of contractile vascular smooth muscle (VSM) contractility. The first event in PKC regulation is a transphosphorylation by PDK at a conserved threonine in the activation loop of PKC, followed by the subsequent autophosphorylation at the turn motif and hydrophobic motif sites. In the present study, we determined whether phosphorylation of PKC is a regulated process in VSM and also investigated a potential role of calponin in the regulation of PKC. We found that calponin increases the level of in vitro PKC? phosphorylation at the PDK and hydrophobic sites, but not the turn motif site. In vascular tissues, phosphorylation of the PKC hydrophobic site, but not turn motif site, as well as phosphorylation of PDK at S241 increased in response to phenylephrine. Calponin knockdown inhibits autophosphorylation of cellular PKC in response to phenylephrine, confirming results with recombinant PKC. Thus these results show that autophosphorylation of PKC is regulated in dVSM and calponin is necessary for autophosphorylation of PKC in VSM.
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Vasoconstrictor-induced endocytic recycling regulates focal adhesion protein localization and function in vascular smooth muscle.
Am. J. Physiol., Cell Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 05-22-2013
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Turnover of focal adhesions (FAs) is known to be critical for cell migration and adhesion of proliferative vascular smooth muscle (VSM) cells. However, it is often assumed that FAs in nonmigratory, differentiated VSM (dVSM) cells embedded in the wall of healthy blood vessels are stable structures. Recent work has demonstrated agonist-induced actin polymerization and Src-dependent FA phosphorylation in dVSM cells, suggesting that agonist-induced FA remodeling occurs. However, the mechanisms and extent of FA remodeling are largely unknown in dVSM. Here we show, for the first time, that a distinct subpopulation of dVSM FA proteins, but not the entire FA, remodels in response to the ?-agonist phenylephrine. Vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein and zyxin displayed the largest redistributions, while ?-integrin and FA kinase showed undetectable redistribution. Vinculin, metavinculin, Src, Crk-associated substrate, and paxillin displayed intermediate degrees of redistribution. Redistributions into membrane fractions were especially prominent, suggesting endosomal mechanisms. Deconvolution microscopy, quantitative colocalization analysis, and Duolink proximity ligation assays revealed that phenylephrine increases the association of FA proteins with early endosomal markers Rab5 and early endosomal antigen 1. Endosomal disruption with the small-molecule inhibitor primaquine inhibits agonist-induced redistribution of FA proteins, confirming endosomal recycling. FA recycling was also inhibited by cytochalasin D, latrunculin B, and colchicine, indicating that the redistribution is actin- and microtubule-dependent. Furthermore, inhibition of endosomal recycling causes a significant inhibition of the rate of development of agonist-induced dVSM contractions. Thus these studies are consistent with the concept that FAs in dVSM cells, embedded in the wall of the aorta, remodel during the action of a vasoconstrictor.
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Practice paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics abstract: the role of nutrition in health promotion and chronic disease prevention.
J Acad Nutr Diet
PUBLISHED: 05-07-2013
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Food intake, lifestyle behaviors, and obesity are linked to the development of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and cardiovascular diseases. It is recognized that physical and social environment influences individuals behaviors, and some population subgroups such as racial/ethnic minorities and individuals with low socioeconomic status or limited literacy or language abilities seem to be especially vulnerable to disparities in disease risk factors, disease prevalence, or health outcomes. Certain life cycle phases appear to be especially important for health promotion and disease prevention as the development of chronic diseases can take several decades. Such complex health issues often require system-wide, multifactorial, and multidisciplinary solutions. Social ecological models, with approaches spanning from individual level to macro policy level, can provide registered dietitians (RDs) and dietetic technicians, registered (DTRs) with a comprehensive framework to promote health and to prevent chronic diseases. Furthermore, the Nutrition Care Process can be utilized in carrying out the health promotion and disease prevention efforts. RDs and DTRs have the training and requisite skills to be leaders and active members of multidisciplinary teams to promote health and prevent chronic diseases across the life span. The position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics states that primary prevention is the most effective, affordable method to prevent chronic disease, and that dietary intervention positively impacts health outcomes across the life span. RDs and DTRs are critical members of health care teams and are essential to delivering nutrition-focused preventive services in clinical and community settings, advocating for policy and programmatic initiatives, and leading research in disease prevention and health promotion. In concordance with the Academys position, this practice paper provides an overview of practice examples, effective program components, and a comprehensive range of health promotion and chronic disease prevention strategies for RDs and DTRs. This paper supports the "Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Role of Nutrition in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention" published in the July 2013 Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: the role of nutrition in health promotion and chronic disease prevention.
J Acad Nutr Diet
PUBLISHED: 05-07-2013
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It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that primary prevention is the most effective and affordable method to prevent chronic disease, and that dietary intervention positively impacts health outcomes across the life span. Registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered are critical members of health care teams and are essential to delivering nutrition-focused preventive services in clinical and community settings, advocating for policy and programmatic initiatives, and leading research in disease prevention and health promotion. Health-promotion and disease-prevention strategies are effective at reducing morbidity and mortality and improving quality of life, and have a significant impact on the leading causes of disease. By applying these principles within a social ecological theoretical framework, positive influence can be applied across the spectrum of engagement: at intrapersonal, interpersonal, institutional, community, and public policy levels. Through the application of efficacious and cost-effective interventions, registered dietitians and dietetic technicians, registered, can positively impact public health as well as health outcomes for the individuals that they counsel. This position paper supports the "Practice Paper of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: The Role of Nutrition in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention" published on the Academys website at: www.eatright.org/positions.
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Thermochemical studies of epoxides and related compounds.
J. Org. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 04-22-2013
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Gas-phase heats of formation for the four butene oxide isomers are reported. They were obtained by measuring the condensed-phase heat of reduction to the corresponding alcohol using reaction calorimetry. Heats of vaporization were determined and allow gas-phase heats of formation to be obtained. The experimental measurements are compared to calculations obtained using a variety of computational methods. Overall, the G3 and CBS-APNO methods agree quite well with the experimental data. The influence of alkyl substituents on epoxide stability is discussed. Comparisons to alkenes, cyclopropanes, aziridines, thiiranes, and phosphiranes are also made. Isodesmic-type reactions were used to determine strain energies of the epoxides and related compounds with various substituents.
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Hierarchical scaffolding of an ERK1/2 activation pathway.
Cell Commun. Signal
PUBLISHED: 03-27-2013
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Scaffold proteins modulate cellular signaling by facilitating assembly of specific signaling pathways. However, there is at present little information if and how scaffold proteins functionally interact with each other.
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Phosphorylation at Ser26 in the ATP binding site of Calcium Calmodulin dependent Kinase II as a mechanism for switching off the kinase activity.
Biosci. Rep.
PUBLISHED: 01-08-2013
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Calcium/calmodulin dependent kinase II (CaMKII) is a serine/threonine phosphotransferase that is capable of long-term retention of activity due to autophosphorylation at a specific threonine residue within each subunit of its oligomeric structure. The gamma isoform of CaMKII is a significant regulator of vascular contractility. Here we show that phosphorylation of CaMKII gamma at Ser26, a residue located within the ATP binding site, terminates the sustained activity of the enzyme. To test the physiological importance of phosphorylation at Ser26, we generated a phosphospecific Ser26 antibody and demonstrated an increase of Ser26 phosphorylation upon depolarization and contraction of blood vessels. To determine if the phosphorylation of Ser26 affects the kinase activity, we mutated Ser26 into Ala or Asp. The S26D mutation mimicking the phosphorylated state of CaMKII causes a dramatic decrease in Thr287 autophosphorylation levels and greatly reduces the catalytic activity towards an exogenous substrate (autocamtide-3), while the S26A mutation has no effect. These data combined with molecular modeling indicate that a negative charge at Ser26 of CaMKII gamma inhibits the catalytic activity of the enzyme towards its autophosphorylation site at Thr287 most likely by blocking ATP binding. We propose that Ser26 phosphorylation constitutes an important mechanism for switching off CaMKII activity.
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The focal adhesion: a regulated component of aortic stiffness.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 01-01-2013
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Increased aortic stiffness is an acknowledged predictor and cause of cardiovascular disease. The sources and mechanisms of vascular stiffness are not well understood, although the extracellular matrix (ECM) has been assumed to be a major component. We tested here the hypothesis that the focal adhesions (FAs) connecting the cortical cytoskeleton of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) to the matrix in the aortic wall are a component of aortic stiffness and that this component is dynamically regulated. First, we examined a model system in which magnetic tweezers could be used to monitor cellular cortical stiffness, serum-starved A7r5 aortic smooth muscle cells. Lysophosphatidic acid (LPA), an activator of myosin that increases cell contractility, increased cortical stiffness. A small molecule inhibitor of Src-dependent FA recycling, PP2, was found to significantly inhibit LPA-induced increases in cortical stiffness, as well as tension-induced increases in FA size. To directly test the applicability of these results to force and stiffness development at the level of vascular tissue, we monitored mouse aorta ring stiffness with small sinusoidal length oscillations during agonist-induced contraction. The alpha-agonist phenylephrine, which also increases myosin activation and contractility, increased tissue stress and stiffness in a PP2- and FAK inhibitor 14-attenuated manner. Subsequent phosphotyrosine screening and follow-up with phosphosite-specific antibodies confirmed that the effects of PP2 and FAK inhibitor 14 in vascular tissue involve FA proteins, including FAK, CAS, and paxillin. Thus, in the present study we identify, for the first time, the FA of the VSMC, in particular the FAK-Src signaling complex, as a significant subcellular regulator of aortic stiffness and stress.
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?-Elimination of an Aziridine to an Allylic Amine: A Mechanistic Study.
J Phys Org Chem
PUBLISHED: 06-15-2011
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The base-induced rearrangement of aziridines has been examined using a combination of calculations and experiment. The calculations show that the substituent on nitrogen is a critical feature that greatly affects the favorability of both ?-deprotonation, and ?-elimination to form an allylic amine. Experiments were carried out to determine whether E2-like rearrangement to the allylic amine with lithium diisopropyl amide (LDA) is possible. N-Tosyl aziridines were found to deprotonate on the tosyl group, preventing further reaction. A variety of N-benzenesulfonyl aziridines having both ?- and ?-protons decomposed when treated with LDA in either tetrahydrofuran or hexamethylphosphoramide. However, when ?-protons were not present, allylic amine was formed, presumably via ?-elimination.
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Effects of basic calponin on the flexural mechanics and stability of F-actin.
Cytoskeleton (Hoboken)
PUBLISHED: 06-11-2011
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The cellular actin cytoskeleton plays a central role in the ability of cells to properly sense, propagate, and respond to external stresses and other mechanical stimuli. Calponin, an actin-binding protein found both in muscle and non-muscle cells, has been implicated in actin cytoskeletal organization and regulation. In this work, we studied the mechanical and structural interaction of actin with basic calponin, a differentiation marker in smooth muscle cells, on a single filament level. We imaged fluorescently labeled thermally fluctuating actin filaments and found that at moderate calponin binding densities, actin filaments were more flexible, evident as a reduction in persistence length from 8.0 to 5.8 ?m. When calponin-decorated actin filaments were subjected to shear, we observed a marked reduction of filament lengths after decoration with calponin, which we argue was due to shear-induced filament rupture rather than depolymerization. This increased shear susceptibility was exacerbated with calponin concentration. Cryo-electron microscopy results confirmed previously published negative stain electron microscopy results and suggested alterations in actin involving actin subdomain 2. A weakening of F-actin intermolecular association is discussed as the underlying cause of the observed mechanical perturbations.
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Enhanced contractility and myosin phosphorylation induced by Ca(2+)-independent MLCK activity in hypertensive rats.
Cardiovasc. Res.
PUBLISHED: 03-04-2011
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The role of Ca(2+) sensitization induced by a Ca(2+)-independent myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) in hypertension has not been determined. The aim of this study was to clarify the role of possible Ca(2+)-independent MLCK activity in hypertension.
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Tropomyosin variants describe distinct functional subcellular domains in differentiated vascular smooth muscle cells.
Am. J. Physiol., Cell Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 02-02-2011
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Tropomyosin (Tm) is known to be an important gatekeeper of actin function. Tm isoforms are encoded by four genes, and each gene produces several variants by alternative splicing, which have been proposed to play roles in motility, proliferation, and apoptosis. Smooth muscle studies have focused on gizzard smooth muscle, where a heterodimer of Tm from the ?-gene (Tmsm-?) and from the ?-gene (Tmsm-?) is associated with contractile filaments. In this study we examined Tm in differentiated mammalian vascular smooth muscle (dVSM). Liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC MS/MS) analysis and Western blot screening with variant-specific antibodies revealed that at least five different Tm proteins are expressed in this tissue: Tm6 (Tmsm-?) and Tm2 from the ?-gene, Tm1 (Tmsm-?) from the ?-gene, Tm5NM1 from the ?-gene, and Tm4 from the ?-gene. Tm6 is by far most abundant in dVSM followed by Tm1, Tm2, Tm5NM1, and Tm4. Coimmunoprecipitation and coimmunofluorescence studies demonstrate that Tm1 and Tm6 coassociate with different actin isoforms and display different intracellular localizations. Using an antibody specific for cytoplasmic ?-actin, we report here the presence of a ?-actin cortical cytoskeleton in dVSM cells. Tm1 colocalizes with cortical cytoplasmic ?-actin and coprecipitates with ?-actin. Tm6, on the other hand, is located on contractile bundles. These data indicate that Tm1 and Tm6 do not form a classical heterodimer in dVSM but rather describe different functional cellular compartments.
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The glutaredoxin GLRX-21 functions to prevent selenium-induced oxidative stress in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Toxicol. Sci.
PUBLISHED: 09-10-2010
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Selenium is an essential micronutrient that functions as an antioxidant. Yet, at higher concentrations, selenium is pro-oxidant and toxic. In extreme cases, exposures to excess selenium can lead to death or selenosis, a syndrome characterized by teeth, hair and nail loss, and nervous system alterations. Recent interest in selenium as an anti- tumorigenic agent has reemphasized the need to understand the mechanisms underlying the cellular consequences of increased selenium exposure. We show here, that in the nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, selenium has a concentration range in which it functions as an antioxidant, but beyond this range it exhibits a dose- and time-dependent lethality. Oxidation-induced fluorescence emitted by the dye, carboxy-H(2)DCFDA, indicative of reactive oxygen species formation was significantly higher in animals after a brief exposure to 5mM sodium selenite. Longer-term exposures lead to a progressive selenium-induced motility impairment that could be partially prevented by coincident exposure to the cellular antioxidant-reduced glutathione. The C elegans glrx-21 gene belongs to the family of glutaredoxins (glutathione-dependent oxidoreductases) and the glrx-21(tm2921) allele is a null mutation that renders animals hypersensitive for the selenium-induced motility impairment, but not lethality. In addition, the lethality of animals with the tm2921 mutation exposed to selenium was unaffected by the addition of reduced glutathione, suggesting that GLRX-21 is required for glutathione to moderate this selenium-induced lethality. Our findings provide the first description of selenium-induced toxicity in C elegans and support its use as a model for elucidating the mechanisms of selenium toxicity.
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A new method for direct detection of the sites of actin polymerization in intact cells and its application to differentiated vascular smooth muscle.
Am. J. Physiol., Cell Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 08-04-2010
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Here we report and validate a new method, suitable broadly, for use in differentiated cells and tissues, for the direct visualization of actin polymerization under physiological conditions. We have designed and tested different versions of fluorescently labeled actin, reversibly attached to the protein transduction tag TAT, and have introduced this novel reagent into intact differentiated vascular smooth muscle cells (dVSMCs). A thiol-reactive version of the TAT peptide was synthesized by adding the amino acids glycine and cysteine to its NH(2)-terminus and forming a thionitrobenzoate adduct: viz. TAT-Cys-S-STNB. This peptide reacts readily with G-actin, and the complex is rapidly taken up by freshly enzymatically isolated dVSMC, as indicated by the fluorescence of a FITC tag on the TAT peptide. By comparing different versions of the construct, we determined that the optimal construct for biological applications is a nonfluorescently labeled TAT peptide conjugated to rhodamine-labeled actin. When TAT-Cys-S-STNB-tagged rhodamine actin (TSSAR) was added to live, freshly enzymatically isolated cells, we observed punctae of incorporated actin at the cortex of the cell. The punctae are indistinguishable from those we have previously reported to occur in the same cell type when rhodamine G-actin is added to permeabilized cells. Thus this new method allows the delivery of labeled G-actin into intact cells without disrupting the native state and will allow its further use to study the effect of physiological intracellular Ca(2+) concentration transients and signal transduction on actin dynamics in intact cells.
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Ethynyl and Propynylpyrene Inhibitors of Cytochrome P450.
J Chem Crystallogr
PUBLISHED: 05-18-2010
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The single-crystal X-ray structures and in vivo activities of three aryl acetylenic inhibitors of cytochromes P450 1A1, 1A2, 2A6, and 2B1 have been determined and are reported herein. These are 1-ethynylpyrene, 1-propy-nylpyrene, and 4-propynylpyrene. To investigate electronic influences on the mechanism of enzyme inhibition, the experimental electron density distribution of 1-ethynylpy-rene has been determined using low-temperature X-ray diffraction measurements, and the resulting net atomic charges compared with various theoretical calculations. A total of 82,390 reflections were measured with Mo K? radiation to a (sin?/?)(max) = 0.985 Å(-1). Averaging symmetry equivalent reflections yielded 8,889 unique reflections. A least squares refinement procedure was used in which multipole parameters were added to describe the distortions of the atomic electron distributions from spherical symmetry. A map of the model electron density distribution of 1-ethynylpyrene was obtained. Net atomic charges calculated from refined monopole population parameters yielded charges that showed that the terminal acetylenic carbon atom (C18) is more negative than the internal carbon (C17). Net atomic charges calculated by ab initio, density functional theory, and semi-empirical methods are consistent with this trend suggesting that the terminal acetylenic carbon atom is more likely to be the site of oxidation. This is consistent with the inhibition mechanism pathway that results in the formation of a reactive ketene intermediate. This is also consistent with assay results that determined that 1-ethynylpyrene acts as a mechanism-based inhibitor of P450s 1A1 and 1A2 and as a reversible inhibitor of P450 2B1. Crystallographic data: 1-ethynylpyrene, C(18)H(10), P2(1)/c, a = 14.571(2) Å, b = 3.9094(5) Å, c = 20.242(3) Å, ? = 105.042(2)°, V = 1,113.5(2) Å(3); 1-propynylpyrene, C(19)H(12), P2(1)/n, a = 8.970(2) Å, b = 10.136(1) Å, c = 14.080(3) Å, ? = 99.77(2)°, V = 1,261.5(4) Å(3); 4-propynylpyrene, C(19)H(12), Pbca, a = 9.904(1) Å, b = 13.174(2) Å, c = 19.401(1) Å, V = 2,531.4(5) Å(3).
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Scaffolding proteins and non-proliferative functions of ERK1/2.
Commun Integr Biol
PUBLISHED: 03-15-2010
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Studies of ERK1/2 generally focus on the regulation of nuclear ERK1/2 function mainly related to proliferation, whereas less attention has been drawn to the role ERK1/2 plays in the cytosol. Scaffolding proteins for ERK1/2 have been shown to control the time point and also the intracellular location of ERK1/2 activation. Hence, by concentrating ERK1/2 within subcellular compartments, scaffolding proteins restrict the substrate specificity of ERK1/2 and thus optimize the cell response for specific signal transduction programs in order to manipulate specific cellular functions. We have presented evidence that the F-actin binding protein calponin represents a new type of ERK1/2 scaffold, controlling the activation of a subfraction of ERK1/2 which is connected solely to contractile and/or migratory events in a cell.
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h3/Acidic calponin: an actin-binding protein that controls extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 activity in nonmuscle cells.
Mol. Biol. Cell
PUBLISHED: 02-24-2010
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Migration of fibroblasts is important in wound healing. Here, we demonstrate a role and a mechanism for h3/acidic calponin (aCaP, CNN3) in REF52.2 cell motility, a fibroblast line rich in actin filaments. We show that the actin-binding protein h3/acidic calponin associates with stress fibers in the absence of stimulation but is targeted to the cell cortex and podosome-like structures after stimulation with a phorbol ester, phorbol-12,13-dibutyrate (PDBu). By coimmunoprecipitation and colocalization, we show that extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 and protein kinase C (PKC)alpha constitutively associate with h3/acidic calponin and are cotargeted with h3/acidic calponin in the presence of PDBu. This targeting can be blocked by a PKC inhibitor but does not require phosphorylation of h3/acidic calponin at the PKC sites S175 or T184. Knockdown of h3/acidic calponin results in a loss of PDBu-mediated ERK1/2 targeting, whereas PKCalpha targeting is unaffected. Caldesmon is an actin-binding protein that regulates actomyosin interactions and is a known substrate of ERK1/2. Both ERK1/2 activity and nonmuscle l-caldesmon phosphorylation are blocked by h3/acidic calponin knockdown. Furthermore, h3/acidic calponin knockdown inhibits REF52.2 migration in an in vitro wound healing assay. Our findings are consistent with a model whereby h3/acidic calponin controls fibroblast migration by regulation of ERK1/2-mediated l-caldesmon phosphorylation.
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Par-4: a new activator of myosin phosphatase.
Mol. Biol. Cell
PUBLISHED: 02-03-2010
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Myosin phosphatase (MP) is a key regulator of myosin light chain (LC20) phosphorylation, a process essential for motility, apoptosis, and smooth muscle contractility. Although MP inhibition is well studied, little is known about MP activation. We have recently demonstrated that prostate apoptosis response (Par)-4 modulates vascular smooth muscle contractility. Here, we test the hypothesis that Par-4 regulates MP activity directly. We show, by proximity ligation assays, surface plasmon resonance and coimmunoprecipitation, that Par-4 interacts with the targeting subunit of MP, MYPT1. Binding is mediated by the leucine zippers of MYPT1 and Par-4 and reduced by Par-4 phosphorylation. Overexpression of Par-4 leads to increased phosphatase activity of immunoprecipitated MP, whereas small interfering RNA knockdown of endogenous Par-4 significantly decreases MP activity and increases MYPT1 phosphorylation. LC20 phosphorylation assays demonstrate that overexpression of Par-4 reduces LC20 phosphorylation. In contrast, a phosphorylation site mutant, but not wild-type Par-4, interferes with zipper-interacting protein kinase (ZIPK)-mediated MP inhibition. We conclude from our results Par-4 operates through a "padlock" model in which binding of Par-4 to MYPT1 activates MP by blocking access to the inhibitory phosphorylation sites, and inhibitory phosphorylation of MYPT1 by ZIPK requires "unlocking" of Par-4 by phosphorylation and displacement of Par-4 from the MP complex.
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Actin polymerization in differentiated vascular smooth muscle cells requires vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein.
Am. J. Physiol., Cell Physiol.
PUBLISHED: 12-16-2009
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Our group has previously shown that vasoconstrictors increase net actin polymerization in differentiated vascular smooth muscle cells (dVSMC) and that increased actin polymerization is linked to contractility of vascular tissue (Kim et al., Am J Physiol Cell Physiol 295: C768-778, 2008). However, the underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. Here, we evaluated the possible functions of the Ena/vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) family of actin filament elongation factors in dVSMC. Inhibition of actin filament elongation by cytochalasin D decreases contractility without changing myosin light-chain phosphorylation levels, suggesting that actin filament elongation is necessary for dVSM contraction. VASP is the only Ena/VASP protein highly expressed in aorta tissues, and VASP knockdown decreased smooth muscle contractility. VASP partially colocalizes with alpha-actinin and vinculin in dVSMC. Profilin, known to associate with G actin and VASP, also colocalizes with alpha-actinin and vinculin, potentially identifying the dense bodies and the adhesion plaques as hot spots of actin polymerization. The EVH1 domain of Ena/VASP is known to target these proteins to their sites of action. Introduction of an expressed EVH1 domain as a dominant negative inhibits stimulus-induced increases in actin polymerization. VASP phosphorylation, known to inhibit actin polymerization, is decreased during phenylephrine stimulation in dVSMC. We also directly visualized, for the first time, rhodamine-labeled actin incorporation in dVSMC and identified hot spots of actin polymerization in the cell cortex that colocalize with VASP. These results indicate a role for VASP in actin filament assembly, specifically at the cell cortex, that modulates contractility in dVSMC.
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The pro-apoptotic protein Par-4 facilitates vascular contractility by cytoskeletal targeting of ZIPK.
J. Cell. Mol. Med.
PUBLISHED: 09-29-2009
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Par-4 (prostate apoptosis response 4) is a pro-apoptotic protein and tumour suppressor that was originally identified as a gene product up-regulated during apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. Here, we show, for the first time, that Par-4 is expressed and co-localizes with the actin filament bundles in vascular smooth muscle. Furthermore, we demonstrate that targeting of ZIPK to the actin filaments, as observed upon PGF-2alpha stimulation, is inhibited by the presence of a cell permeant Par-4 decoy peptide. The same decoy peptide also significantly inhibits PGF-2alpha induced contractions of smooth muscle tissue. Moreover, knockdown of Par-4 using antisense morpholino nucleotides results in significantly reduced contractility, and myosin light chain and myosin phosphatase target subunit phosphorylation. These results indicate that Par-4 facilitates contraction by targeting ZIPK to the vicinity of its substrates, myosin light chain and MYPT, which are located on the actin filaments. These results identify Par-4 as a novel regulator of myosin light chain phosphorylation in differentiated, contractile vascular smooth muscle.
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Stretch activates human myometrium via ERK, caldesmon and focal adhesion signaling.
PLoS ONE
PUBLISHED: 06-01-2009
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An incomplete understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for myometrial activation from the quiescent pregnant state to the active contractile state during labor has hindered the development of effective therapies for preterm labor. Myometrial stretch has been implicated clinically in the initiation of labor and the etiology of preterm labor, but the molecular mechanisms involved in the human have not been determined. We investigated the mechanisms by which gestation-dependent stretch contributes to myometrial activation, by using human uterine samples from gynecologic hysterectomies and Cesarean sections. Here we demonstrate that the Ca requirement for activation of the contractile filaments in human myometrium increases with caldesmon protein content during gestation and that an increase in caldesmon phosphorylation can reverse this inhibitory effect during labor. By using phosphotyrosine screening and mass spectrometry of stretched human myometrial samples, we identify 3 stretch-activated focal adhesion proteins, FAK, p130Cas, and alpha actinin. FAK-Y397, which signals integrin engagement, is constitutively phosphorylated in term human myometrium whereas FAK-Y925, which signals downstream ERK activation, is phosphorylated during stretch. We have recently identified smooth muscle Archvillin (SmAV) as an ERK regulator. A newly produced SmAV-specific antibody demonstrates gestation-specific increases in SmAV protein levels and stretch-specific increases in SmAV association with focal adhesion proteins. Thus, whereas increases in caldesmon levels suppress human myometrium contractility during pregnancy, stretch-dependent focal adhesion signaling, facilitated by the ERK activator SmAV, can contribute to myometrial activation. These results suggest that focal adhesion proteins may present new targets for drug discovery programs aimed at regulation of uterine contractility.
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Smooth muscle archvillin is an ERK scaffolding protein.
J. Biol. Chem.
PUBLISHED: 04-29-2009
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ERK influences a number of pathways in all cells, but how ERK activities are segregated between different pathways has not been entirely clear. Using immunoprecipitation and pulldown experiments with domain-specific recombinant fragments, we show that smooth muscle archvillin (SmAV) binds ERK and members of the ERK signaling cascade in a domain-specific, stimulus-dependent, and pathway-specific manner. MEK binds specifically to the first 445 residues of SmAV. B-Raf, an upstream regulator of MEK, constitutively interacts with residues 1-445 and 446-1250. Both ERK and 14-3-3 bind to both fragments, but in a stimulus-specific manner. Phosphorylated ERK is associated only with residues 1-445. An ERK phosphorylation site was determined by mass spectrometry to reside at Ser132. A phospho-antibody raised to this site shows that the site is phosphorylated during alpha-agonist-mediated ERK activation in smooth muscle tissue. Phosphorylation of SmAV by ERK decreases the association of phospho-ERK with SmAV. These results, combined with previous observations, indicate that SmAV serves as a new ERK scaffolding protein and provide a mechanism for regulation of ERK binding, activation, and release from the signaling complex.
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Nonredundant roles of cytoplasmic ?- and ?-actin isoforms in regulation of epithelial apical junctions.
Mol. Biol. Cell
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Association with the actin cytoskeleton is critical for normal architecture and dynamics of epithelial tight junctions (TJs) and adherens junctions (AJs). Epithelial cells express ?-cytoplasmic (?-CYA) and ?-cytoplasmic (?-CYA) actins, which have different cellular localization and functions. This study elucidates the roles of cytoplasmic actins in regulating structure and remodeling of AJs and TJs in model intestinal epithelia. Immunofluorescence labeling and latrunculin B treatment reveal affiliation of dynamic ?-CYA filaments with newly assembled and mature AJs, whereas an apical ?-CYA pool is composed of stable perijunctional bundles and rapidly turning-over nonjunctional filaments. The functional effects of cytoplasmic actins on epithelial junctions are examined by using isoform-specific small interfering RNAs and cell-permeable inhibitory peptides. These experiments demonstrate unique roles of ?-CYA and ?-CYA in regulating the steady-state integrity of AJs and TJs, respectively. Furthermore, ?-CYA is selectively involved in establishment of apicobasal cell polarity. Both actin isoforms are essential for normal barrier function of epithelial monolayers, rapid AJ/TJ reassembly, and formation of three-dimensional cysts. Cytoplasmic actin isoforms play unique roles in regulating structure and permeability of epithelial junctions.
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Deciphering actin cytoskeletal function in the contractile vascular smooth muscle cell.
J. Physiol. (Lond.)
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This review focuses on the vascular smooth muscle cells present in the medial layer of the blood vessels wall in the fully differentiated state (dVSMCs). The dVSMC contractile phenotype enables these cells to respond in a highly regulated manner to changes in extracellular stimuli. Through modulation of vascular contractile force and vascular compliance dVSMCs regulate blood pressure and blood flow. The cellular and molecular mechanisms by which vascular smooth muscle contractile functions are regulated are not completely elucidated. Recent studies have documented a critical role for actin polymerization and cytoskeletal dynamics in the regulation of contractile function. Here we will review the current understanding of actin cytoskeletal dynamics and focal adhesion function in dVSMCs in order to better understand actin cytoskeleton connections to the extracellular matrix and the effects of cytoskeletal remodelling on vascular contractility and vascular stiffness in health and disease.
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Selenium induces cholinergic motor neuron degeneration in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Neurotoxicology
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Selenium is an essential micronutrient required for cellular antioxidant systems, yet at higher doses it induces oxidative stress. Additionally, in vertebrates environmental exposures to toxic levels of selenium can cause paralysis and death. Here we show that selenium-induced oxidative stress leads to decreased cholinergic signaling and degeneration of cholinergic neurons required for movement and egg-laying in Caenorhabditis elegans. Exposure to high levels of selenium leads to proteolysis of a soluble muscle protein through mechanisms suppressible by two pharmacological agents, levamisole and aldicarb which enhance cholinergic signaling in muscle. In addition, animals with reduction-of-function mutations in genes encoding post-synaptic levamisole-sensitive acetylcholine receptor subunits or the vesicular acetylcholine transporter developed impaired forward movement faster during selenium-exposure than normal animals, again confirming that selenium reduces cholinergic signaling. Finally, the antioxidant reduced glutathione, inhibits selenium-induced reductions in egg-laying through a cellular protective mechanism dependent on the C. elegans glutaredoxin, GLRX-21. These studies provide evidence that the environmental toxicant selenium induces neurodegeneration of cholinergic neurons through depletion of glutathione, a mechanism linked to the neuropathology of Alzheimers disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinsons disease.
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Stimulus-specific activation and actin dependency of distinct, spatially separated ERK1/2 fractions in A7r5 smooth muscle cells.
PLoS ONE
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A proliferative response of smooth muscle cells to activation of extracellular signal regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) has been linked to cardiovascular disease. In fully differentiated smooth muscle, however, ERK1/2 activation can also regulate contraction. Here, we use A7r5 smooth muscle cells, stimulated with 12-deoxyphorbol 13-isobutylate 20-acetate (DPBA) to induce cytoskeletal remodeling or fetal calf serum (FCS) to induce proliferation, to identify factors that determine the outcomes of ERK1/2 activation in smooth muscle. Knock down experiments, immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assays show that the ERK1/2 scaffold caveolin-1 mediates ERK1/2 activation in response to DPBA, but not FCS, and that ERK1/2 is released from caveolin-1 upon DPBA, but not FCS, stimulation. Conversely, ERK1/2 associated with the actin cytoskeleton is significantly reduced after FCS, but not DPBA stimulation, as determined by Triton X fractionation. Furthermore, cytochalasin treatment inhibits DPBA, but not FCS-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation, indicating that the actin cytoskeleton is not only a target but also is required for ERK1/2 activation. Our results show that (1) at least two ERK1/2 fractions are regulated separately by specific stimuli, and that (2) the association of ERK1/2 with the actin cytoskeleton regulates the outcome of ERK1/2 signaling.
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Structure and dynamics of the actin-based smooth muscle contractile and cytoskeletal apparatus.
J. Muscle Res. Cell. Motil.
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The thin filaments of differentiated smooth muscle cells are composed of actin and tropomyosin isoforms and numerous ancillary actin-binding proteins that assemble together into distinct thin filament classes. These different filament classes are segregated in smooth muscle cells into structurally and functionally separated contractile and cytoskeletal cellular domains. Typically, thin filaments in smooth muscle cells have been considered to be relatively stable structures like those in striated cells. However, recent efforts have shown that smooth muscle thin filaments indeed are dynamic and that remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton, in particular, regulates smooth muscle function. Thus, the cytoskeleton of differentiated smooth muscle cells appears to function midway between that of less dynamic striated muscle cells and that of very plastic proliferative cells such as fibroblasts. Michael and Kate Bárány keenly followed and participated in some of these studies, consistent with their broad interest in actin function and smooth muscle mechanisms. As a way of honoring the memory of these two pioneer members of the muscle research community, we review data on distribution and remodeling of thin filaments in smooth muscle cells, one of the many research topics that intrigued them.
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Src modulates contractile vascular smooth muscle function via regulation of focal adhesions.
J. Cell. Physiol.
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Src is a known regulator of focal adhesion turnover in migrating cells; but, in contrast, Src is generally assumed to play little role in differentiated, contractile vascular smooth muscle (dVSM). The goal of the present study was to determine if Src-family kinases regulate focal adhesion proteins and how this might affect contractility of non-proliferative vascular smooth muscle. We demonstrate here, through the use of phosphotyrosine screening, deconvolution microscopy imaging, and differential centrifugation, that the activity of Src family kinases in aorta is regulated by the alpha agonist and vasoconstrictor phenylephrine, and leads to focal adhesion protein phosphorylation and remodeling in dVSM. Furthermore, Src inhibition via morpholino knockdown of Src or by the small molecule inhibitor PP2 prevents phenylephrine-induced adhesion protein phosphorylation, markedly slows the tissues ability to contract, and decreases steady state contractile force amplitude. Significant vasoconstrictor-induced and Src-dependent phosphorylation of Cas pY-165, FAK pY-925, paxillin pY-118, and Erk1/2 were observed. However, increases in FAK 397 phosphorylation were not seen, demonstrating differences between cells in tissue versus migrating, proliferating cells. We show here that Src, in a cause and effect manner, regulates focal adhesion protein function and, consequently, modulates contractility during the action of a vasoconstrictor. These data point to the possibility that vascular focal adhesion proteins may be useful drug discovery targets for novel therapeutic approaches to cardiovascular disease.
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