DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.17276 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 17276: NOTCH3-BMPR Interactions Drive Smooth Muscle Cell Proliferation and Medial Hyperplasia in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

Yu Zhang, Cristian Puerta, Moises Hernandez, Patricia Thistlethwaite
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Background: One of the characteristics of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is the proliferation of smooth muscle cells. In heritable PAH, aberrant BMPR2 signaling results in low levels of intracellular ID1. An important pathway involved in vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and the development of non-heritable PAH is the NOTCH3-HES5 signaling pathway. Previous studies have demonstrated that HES-5 and ID-1 are peptides belonging to the basic helix-loop-helix family, and they act as transcriptional enhancers of cell cycle genes. Transcriptional enhancement or repression requires the heterodimerization of different HES and ID proteins.

Hypothesis: We hypothesize that HES-5 binds to and degrades IDs in non-heritable cases of PAH.

Methods: The half-life of ID proteins was assessed in human small pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells that either constitutively expressed or minimally expressed HES-5. In order to understand whether this effect was due to direct binding between HES-5 and ID1, co-immunoprecipitation experiments were performed. Immunofluorescent staining was used to detect the expression level of ID1 and HES-5. Proximity ligation assay (PLA) was utilized to examine of endogenous in-situ interaction of ID1-HES5.

Results: We found that overexpression of HES-5 significantly diminished the half-life of ID1 and ID3, and had little effect on ID2. All three proteins localized to the nucleus of small pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. Immunofluorescent staining confirmed elevated levels of HES and reduced levels of ID1 and ID3 in the medial layer of PAH vessels. By PLA assay, we show that HES-5 and ID1 as well as HES-5 and ID-3 physically associate with each other to the level of 40 nanometers.

Conclusions: Constitutive NOTCH3 signaling and high intracellular HES-5 levels drive vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation in non-familial PAH by binding to and degrading ID intracellular proteins. Our study demonstrates cross-talk between the NOTCH3-pathway and the BMPR2 pathway in this disease, at the level of their downstream effectors: ID1 and HES-5. Further studies should shed light on how these two pathways control the PAH disease process.

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