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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Oct;301(4):C929-37. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00088.2011. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

Implication of microRNAs in atrial natriuretic peptide and nitric oxide signaling in vascular smooth muscle cells.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago, 60612, USA. rukmini@uic.edu


MicroRNAs (miRs) are endogenous small RNA molecules that suppress gene expression by binding to complementary sequences in the 3' untranslated regions of their target genes. miRs have been implicated in many diseases, including heart failure, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, cardiac hypertrophy, and cancers. Nitric oxide (NO) and atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) are potent vasorelaxants whose actions are mediated through receptor guanylyl cyclases and cGMP-dependent protein kinase. The present study examines miRs in signaling by ANP and NO in vascular smooth muscle cells. miR microarray analysis was performed on human vascular smooth muscle cells (HVSMC) treated with ANP (10 nM, 4 h) and S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine (SNAP) (100 μM, 4 h), a NO donor. Twenty-two shared miRs were upregulated, and 21 shared miRs were downregulated, by both ANP and SNAP (P < 0.05). Expression levels of four miRs (miRs-21, -26b, -98, and -1826), which had the greatest change in expression, as determined by microarray analysis, were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. Rp-8-Br-PET-cGMPS, a cGMP-dependent protein kinase-specific inhibitor, blocked the regulation of these miRs by ANP and SNAP. 8-bromo-cGMP mimicked the effect of ANP and SNAP on their expression. miR-21 was shown to inhibit HVSMC contraction in collagen gel lattice contraction assays. We also identified by computational algorithms and confirmed by Western blot analysis new intracellular targets of miR-21, i.e., cofilin-2 and myosin phosphatase and Rho interacting protein. Transfection with pre-miR-21 contracted cells and ANP and SNAP blocked miR-21-induced HVSMC contraction. Transfection with anti-miR-21 inhibitor reduced contractility of HVSMC (P < 0.05). The present results implicate miRs in NO and ANP signaling in general and miR-21 in particular in cGMP signaling and vascular smooth muscle cell relaxation.

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