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ER stress regulates alkaline phosphatase gene expression in vascular smooth muscle cells via an ATF4-dependent mechanism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Research Notes
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2018


King's Authors


Vascular calcification is the deposition of hydroxyapatite crystals in the blood vessel wall. Osteogenic differentiation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) plays a key role in this process. Increased expression of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) occurs in some in vitro models of VSMC calcification and is thought to be crucial for mineralization, however, little is known about the transcriptional regulation of ALP in VSMCs. Recently, ALP upregulation was shown to coincide with endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated vascular calcification, specifically with expression of the transcription factor ATF4. As no direct links between ALP expression and ER stress have previously been demonstrated in VSMCs, the aim of this study was to investigate whether ATF4 interacts directly with the ALP promoter.

The present study shows that ALP mRNA and activity were significantly increased by ER stress treatment of human primary VSMCs in vitro and that this was ATF4-dependent. Bioinformatics analysis predicted two ATF4 binding sites in ER-stress responsive regions of the ALP promoter (− 3631 to − 2048 bp from the first intron). However, we found that ATF4 does not bind within this fragment of the ALP promoter region.

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