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Cyclic AMP acts through Rap1 and JNK signaling to increase expression of cutaneous smooth muscle alpha2C-adrenoceptors.

Eid-AH; Chotani-MA; Mitra-S; Miller-TJ; Flavahan-NA
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2008 Jul; 295(1):H266-H272
Cold increases cutaneous vasoconstriction by unmasking the contractile activity of alpha(2C)-adrenoceptors (alpha(2C)-ARs) in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs), which is mediated by the cold-induced mobilization of alpha(2C)-ARs from the transGolgi to the cell surface. The expression of alpha(2C)-ARs in human cutaneous VSMCs is under dual regulation by cyclic AMP: gene transcription is inhibited by cyclic AMP acting through protein kinase A but is increased by cyclic AMP acting through the exchange protein directly activated by cyclic AMP (EPAC) and the GTP-binding protein Rap1. Experiments were performed to further characterize the Rap1 signaling pathway. Forskolin (10 muM), the selective EPAC activator, 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cyclic AMP (CMC; 100 microM), or a constitutively active mutant of Rap1 (Rap1CA) increased the activity of c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK) in human cutaneous VSMCs. This was associated with the increased phosphorylation of c-Jun and activation of an activator protein (AP)-1 reporter construct, which were inhibited by the JNK inhibitor SP600125 (3 microM). Rap1CA increased the activity of an alpha(2C)-AR promoter-reporter construct, which was inhibited by SP600125 (3 microM) or by the mutation of an AP-1 binding site in the alpha(2C)-AR promoter. Furthermore, forskolin (10 microM) or CMC (100 microM) increased the expression of the alpha(2C)-AR protein, and these effects were inhibited by SP600125 (3 microM). Therefore, cyclic AMP increases the expression of alpha(2C)-ARs in cutaneous VSMCs by activating a novel Rap1 signaling pathway, mediated by the activation of JNK, AP-1, and the subsequent transcriptional activation of the alpha(2C)-AR gene. By increasing the expression of cold-responsive alpha(2C)-ARs, this pathway may contribute to enhanced cold-induced vasoconstriction in the cutaneous circulation, including Raynaud's phenomenon.
Muscle-cells; Proteins; Enzymes; Genes; Hormone-activity; Hormones; Vasoactive-agents; Blood-vessels; Cell-biology; Cell-differentiation; Cell-function; Cell-transformation
N. A. Flavahan, Dept. of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Ross Research Bldg., R 370/372, 720 Rutland Ave., Baltimore, MD 21205
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American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
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Jonhs Hopkins University