TNF-α elicits phenotypic and functional alterations of vascular smooth muscle cells by miR-155-5p–dependent down-regulation of cGMP-dependent kinase 1

Seunghwan Choi, Minsik Park, Joohwan Kim, Wonjin Park, Suji Kim, Dong Keon Lee, Jong Yun Hwang, Jongseon Choe, Moo Ho Won, Sungwoo Ryoo, Kwon Soo Ha, Young Guen Kwon, Young Myeong Kim

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22 Citations (Scopus)


cGMP-dependent protein kinase 1 (PKG1) plays an important role in nitric oxide (NO)/cGMP-mediated maintenance of vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotype and vasorelaxation. Inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), have long been understood to mediate several inflammatory vascular diseases. However, the underlying mechanism of TNFα-dependent inflammatory vascular disease is unclear. Here, we found that TNFα treatment decreased PKG1 expression in cultured VSMCs, which correlated with NF-kB-dependent biogenesis of miR-155-5p that targeted the 3'-UTR of PKG1 mRNA. TNFα induced VSMC phenotypic switching from a contractile to a synthetic state through the down-regulation of VSMC marker genes, suppression of actin polymerization, alteration of cell morphology, and elevation of cell proliferation and migration. All of these events were blocked by treatment with an inhibitor of miR-155-5p or PKG1, whereas transfection with miR-155-5p mimic or PKG1 siRNA promoted phenotypic modulation, similar to the response to TNFα. In addition, TNFα-induced miR-155-5p inhibited the vasorelaxant response of de-endothelialized mouse aortic vessels to 8-Br-cGMP by suppressing phosphorylation of myosin phosphatase and myosin light chain, both of which are downstream signal modulators of PKG1. Moreover, TNFα-induced VSMC phenotypic alteration and vasodilatory dysfunction were blocked by NF-kB inhibition. These results suggest that TNFα impairs NO/cGMP-mediated maintenance of the VSMC contractile phenotype and vascular relaxation by down-regulating PKG1 through NF-kB-dependent biogenesis of miR-155-5p. Thus, the NF-kB/miR-155-5p/PKG1 axis may be crucial in the pathogenesis of inflammatory vascular diseases, such as atherosclerotic intimal hyperplasia and preeclamptic hypertension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14812-14822
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sep 21

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) Grant 2016M3A9B6903103 funded by the Korea government (MSIP) and also a 2017 Research Grant from Kangwon National University (Grant 520170431). The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest with the contents of this article. We thank the Central Research Laboratory of Kangwon National University for use of a liquid scintillation counter (Packard, Tri-Carb 2810TR).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Choi et al.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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