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Circ Res. 2000 Sep 29;87(7):616-22.

Involvement of Rho GTPases in the transcriptional inhibition of preproendothelin-1 gene expression by simvastatin in vascular endothelial cells.

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  • 1Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, and Instituto "Reina Sofía" de Investigaciones Nefrológicas, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Velázquez, Madrid, Spain.


Endothelial dysfunction is characterized by an impaired vasodilatory response to endothelial agonists as well as by alterations in adhesion and coagulation processes. 3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) have been shown to be useful in the reversal of endothelial dysfunction, an effect that may be independent of the reduction in cholesterol levels. Both the L-arginine-nitric oxide-cGMP and endothelin pathways are involved in the regulation of vascular tone. Here, we show that the basal transcription rate of the preproendothelin-1 gene was decreased by simvastatin (10 micromol/L) in bovine aortic endothelial cells. Transfection studies with the preproendothelin-1 gene promoter showed that mevalonate (100 micromol/L) was able to prevent the inhibitory effect mediated by simvastatin. Protein geranylgeranylation, but not farnesylation, proved to be crucial for a correct expression of the preproendothelin-1 gene. The C3 exotoxin from Clostridium botulinum that selectively inactivates Rho GTPases, the processing of which involves geranylgeranylation, reproduced the inhibitory effect of simvastatin on the expression of preproendothelin-1. Overexpression of dominant-negative mutants of RhoA and RhoB led to a significant reduction in the preproendothelin-1 promoter activity, whereas the expression of wild-type and constitutively active forms of these proteins resulted in an increase, in support that Rho proteins are required for the basal expression of the preproendothelin-1 gene. Finally, we show that the Rho-dependent activation of the preproendothelin-1 gene transcription was inhibited by simvastatin. Thus, the control of vascular tone and proliferative response mediated by endothelin-1 is regulated at multiple levels, among which the Rho proteins play an essential role.

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