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Mol Cell Biochem. 2002 Apr;233(1-2):165-73.

Expression of atrial natriuretic peptide receptor-A antagonizes the mitogen-activated protein kinases (Erk2 and P38MAPK) in cultured human vascular smooth muscle cells.

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Department of Physiology, Tulane University Health Sciences Center, and School of Medicine New Orleans, LA 70112, USA.


To understand the signaling mechanisms of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) receptor-A (NPRA), we studied the effect of the ANP/NPRA system on mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), with particular emphasis on the extracellular-regulated kinase (Erk2) and stress-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) in cultured human vascular smooth muscle cells (HVSMC). Angiotensin II (ANG II) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) stimulated the immunoreactive Erk2 and p38MAPK activities and their protein levels by 2-4 fold. The pretreatment of cells with ANP significantly inhibited the agonist-stimulated Erk2 and p38MAPK activities and protein expression by 65-75% in HVSMC transiently transfected with NPRA, as compared with only 18-22% inhibition in vector-transfected cells. The pretreatment of cells with KT5823, an inhibitor of cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG), reversed the inhibitory effects of ANP on MAPK activities and protein expression by 90-95%. PD98059, which inhibits Erk2 by directly inhibiting the MAPK-kinase (MEK), and SB202192, a selective antagonist of p38MAPK, blocked the Erk2 and p38MAPK activities, respectively. Interestingly, ANP stimulated the MAPK-phosphatase-3 (MKP-3) protein levels by more than 3-fold in HVSMC over-expressing NPRA, suggesting that ANP-dependent inhibition of MAPKs may also proceed by stimulating the phosphatase cascade. These present findings provide the evidence that ANP exerts inhibitory effects on agonist-stimulated MAPKs (Erk2 and p38MAPK) activities and protein levels in a 2-fold manner: by antagonizing the up-stream signaling pathways and by activation of MKP-3 to counter-regulate MAPKs in a cGMP and PKG-dependent manner. Our results identify a signal transduction pathway in HVSMC that could contribute to vascular remodeling and structural changes in human hypertension.

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