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Chem Biol Drug Des. 2012 Sep;80(3):374-81. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-0285.2012.01405.x. Epub 2012 Jun 27.

Enhancing and limiting endothelin-1 signaling with a cell-penetrating peptide mimicking the third intracellular loop of the ETB receptor.

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Department of Biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine, MA 02118, USA.


TAT (a 13-mer derived from the HIV-1 Tat protein)-linked cell-permeable peptides deliver plasma membrane impermeable cargos into the cell. We investigated the effect of a TAT-linked intracellular third loop of the endothelin-1 type B receptor on endothelin-1 activation of ERK. The effect of this peptide on ERK activation was determined in ETB receptor cDNA-transfected Chinese hamster ovary cells and in ETA- and ETB-expressing human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells obtained from a normal and a bone morphogenetic protein-2 receptor, exon 1-8 deletion subject, with pulmonary hypertension. In the Chinese hamster ovary cells the peptide, at optimum 10 μm concentration, suppressed endothelin-1 activation. In the normal human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells, the peptide marginally enhanced endothelin-1 activation of ERK. However, it markedly enhanced the endothelin-1 activation of ERK in the bone morphogenetic protein-2 receptor human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells. While the effective concentration for endothelin-1 activation of ERK remained unchanged in the bone morphogenetic protein-2 receptor human pulmonary artery smooth muscle cells, the number of ETB receptors declined by 2/3. These data point to the intracellular third loop peptide as having variable receptor interactive effects with both signal repressive and enhancing capabilities. Peptides that can alter endothelin-1 signal capabilities are potentially important in the study and treatment of pulmonary hypertension.

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