Abstract 3678: Protein Kinase C-zeta (PKCζ) Is A Novel Mediator Of Endothelial Dysfunction By Inhibiting The ERK5/ Kruppel-like Factor 2 (KLF2) Pathway
Background: Shear stress-induced activation of ERK5 and KLF2 leads to eNOS expression maintaining normal endothelial cell (EC) function. PKCζ has emerged as a pathologic mediator of EC dysfunction based on 1) a positive correlation between PKCζ activity and disturbed flow pattern; and 2) PKCζ activation is essential for TNFα stimulation of JNK, caspase-3 and EC apoptosis. Therefore we hypothesized that TNFα and its pathologic mediator ONOO− would inhibit ERK5 transcriptional activity and eNOS expression induced by flow.
Results: TNFα and ONOO− significantly inhibited ERK5 transcriptional activity, KLF2 promoter activity, and eNOS expression induced by flow (shear stress = 12 dyn/cm2, 24 hrs). Both TNFαand ONOO−increased PKCζ activity. Transfection of wild type PKCζ (WT-PKCζ) and catalytic domain of PKCζ (CATζ) significantly inhibited ERK5 transcriptional activity (38±1.4% and 57±2.8% respectively; p<0.01, p<0.005). Also, transfection of PKCζ siRNA reversed TNFα-mediated inhibition of ERK5 transcriptional activity (control vs PKCz siRNA, 28±2.5% vs 9±0.3%, p<0.05), suggesting a critical role for PKCζ in ERK5 transcriptional repression. Surprisingly, TNFα and ONOO− did not significantly decrease ERK5 phosphorylation, suggesting that inhibition occurred downstream of ERK5 phosphorylation. Previously we reported that ERK5-SUMOylation inhibited flow-mediated eNOS expression, but we could not detect increased ERK5-SUMOylation in WT-PKCζ or CATζ transfected cells. Importantly, we found that ONOO− significantly increased PKCζ-ERK5 interaction. PKCζ is known to contain a PB1 domain, a well studied protein-protein interaction domain. However, mutational analysis demonstrated that the ERK5 binding site in PKCζ was within the catalytic domain of PKCζ, not the PB1 domain. These data suggest that the PKCζ-ERK5 interaction likely inhibits ERK5 transcriptional activity by direct phosphorylation of ERK5 by PKCζ kinase.
Conclusion: PKCζ is a novel mediator of TNFα and ONOO− induced endothelial dysfunction by inhibiting ERK5 transcriptional activity independent of kinase activity and ERK5-SUMOylation.