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Circ Res. 2005 Jul 8;97(1):25-34. Epub 2005 Jun 9.

Pre-B-cell colony-enhancing factor regulates NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase activity and promotes vascular smooth muscle cell maturation.

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  • 1Robarts Research Institute (Vascular Biology Group), Department of Medicine (Cardiology), University of Western Ontario, London, Canada.


Conversion of vascular smooth muscle cells (SMCs) from a proliferative state to a nonproliferative, contractile state confers vasomotor function to developing and remodeling blood vessels. Using a maturation-competent human SMC line, we determined that this shift in phenotype was accompanied by upregulation of pre-B-cell colony-enhancing factor (PBEF), a protein proposed to be a cytokine. Knockdown of endogenous PBEF increased SMC apoptosis and reduced the capacity of synthetic SMCs to mature to a contractile state. In keeping with these findings, human SMCs transduced with the PBEF gene had enhanced survival, an elongated bipolar morphology, and increased levels of h-caldesmon, smoothelin-A, smoothelin-B, and metavinculin. Notwithstanding some prior reports, PBEF did not have attributes of a cytokine but instead imparted the cell with increased nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase activity. Intracellular nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) content was increased in PBEF-overexpressing SMCs and decreased in PBEF-knockdown SMCs. Furthermore, NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase activity was found to be essential for SMC maturation and was increased by PBEF. Xenotransplantation of human SMCs into immunodeficient mice revealed an increased capacity for PBEF-overexpressing SMCs to mature and intimately invest nascent endothelial channels. This microvessel chimerism and maturation process was perturbed when SMC PBEF expression was lowered. These findings identify PBEF as a regulator of NAD+-dependent reactions in SMCs, reactions that promote, among other potential processes, the acquisition of a mature SMC phenotype.

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