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J Biol Chem. 2007 Feb 9;282(6):3940-50. Epub 2006 Dec 8.

Evidence for actin cytoskeleton-dependent and -independent pathways for RelA/p65 nuclear translocation in endothelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.


Activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB involves its release from the inhibitory protein IkappaBalpha in the cytoplasm and subsequently, its translocation to the nucleus. Whereas the events responsible for its release have been elucidated, mechanisms regulating the nuclear transport of NF-kappaB remain elusive. We now provide evidence for actin cytoskeleton-dependent and -independent mechanisms of RelA/p65 nuclear transport using the proinflammatory mediators, thrombin and tumor necrosis factor alpha, respectively. We demonstrate that thrombin alters the actin cytoskeleton in endothelial cells and interfering with these alterations, whether by stabilizing or destabilizing the actin filaments, prevents thrombin-induced NF-kappaB activation and consequently, expression of its target gene, ICAM-1. The blockade of NF-kappaB activation occurs downstream of IkappaBalpha degradation and is associated with impaired RelA/p65 nuclear translocation. Importantly, thrombin induces association of RelA/p65 with actin and this interaction is sensitive to stabilization/destabilization of the actin filaments. In parallel studies, stabilizing or destabilizing the actin filaments fails to inhibit RelA/p65 nuclear accumulation and ICAM-1 expression by tumor necrosis factor alpha, consistent with its inability to induce actin filament formation comparable with thrombin. Thus, these studies reveal the existence of actin cytoskeleton-dependent and -independent pathways that may be engaged in a stimulus-specific manner to facilitate RelA/p65 nuclear import and thereby ICAM-1 expression in endothelial cells.

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