Background Endothelial cell activation is thought to be a key event in atherosclerosis. p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) plays an important role in regulating pro-inflammatory cytokine production in endothelial cells (ECs), however, how p38 MAPK is controlled in EC activation remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the effect of mitochondrial tumor suppressor 1 (MTUS1) on p38 MAPK activation, cytokine induction and the underlying molecular mechanisms in ECs. Methods and results Using qPCR and ELISA methods, we found that knockdown of MTUS1 led to a marked increase in the mRNA and protein expression of E-selectin (SELE) and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 in ECs, which is accompanied with increased phosphorylation of p38 MAPK (Thr180/Tyr182), MKK3/6 (Ser 189) and IκBα (Ser 32). Using luciferase reporter assay, we found that MTUS1 silencing also activated NF-κB transcriptional activity. The inhibition of p38 MAPK and NF-κB pathway was shown to abrogate MTUS1 silencing-induced cytokine expression in ECs. Furthermore, MTUS1 silencing induced p38 MAPK-dependent ubiquitination of cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) which potentiated CREB-binding protein-mediated NF-κB p65 acetylation and binding to the promoter of the SELE gene. Conversely, adenovirus-mediated overexpression of MTUS1 inhibited p38 MAPK activation in ECs in vitro and in vivo. Importantly, decreased expression of MTUS1 and CREB, accompanied with induced activation of p38 MAPK were observed in aortas of apoE −/− mice after high-fat diet challenge. Conclusions Our findings showed that MTUS1 regulates the p38 MAPK-mediated cytokine production in ECs. MTUS1 gene probably plays a protective role against pro-inflammatory response of ECs.
- Endothelial cells
- p38 MAPK
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine