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Bidirectional Cross-Regulation between the Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase and β-Catenin Signaling Pathways

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalCardiovascular Research
Early online date25 Jul 2014
Accepted/In press19 Jul 2014
E-pub ahead of print25 Jul 2014


King's Authors


Aims: β-catenin has been shown to be regulated by inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in endothelial cells. We investigated here whether β-catenin interacts with and regulates endothelial NOS (eNOS) and whether eNOS activation promotes β-catenin signaling.

Methods and Results: We identified β-catenin as a novel eNOS binding protein in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) by mass spectroscopy and western blot analyses of β-catenin and eNOS immunoprecipitates. This was confirmed by in situ proximity ligation assay. eNOS activity, assessed by cGMP production and eNOS phosphorylation (Ser1177), was enhanced in β-catenin−/- mouse pulmonary endothelial cells (MPECs) relative to wild type MPECs. eNOS activation (using adenosine, salbutamol, thrombin or histamine), or application of an NO donor (spermine NONOate) or cGMP-analogue (8-bromo-cGMP) caused nuclear translocation of β-catenin in HUVEC as shown by western blotting of nuclear extracts. Exposure to spermine NONOate, 8-bromo-cGMP or sildenafil (a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitor) also increased the expression of β-catenin-dependent transcripts, IL-8 and cyclin D1. Stimulation of wild type MPECs with basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), spermine NONOate, 8-bromo-cGMP or sildenafil increased tube length relative to controls in an angiogenesis assay. These responses were abrogated in β-catenin−/- MPECs, with the exception of that to bFGF which is NO-independent. In C57BL/6 mice, subcutaneous VEGF-supplemented Matrigel plugs containing β-catenin−/- MPECs exhibited reduced angiogenesis compared to plugs containing wild type MPECs. Angiogenesis was not altered in bFGF-supplemented Matrigel.

Conclusions: These data reveal bidirectional cross talk and regulation between the NO-cGMP and β-catenin signaling pathways.

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