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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 Aug 3;424(3):538-43. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.06.151. Epub 2012 Jul 6.

Src kinase-mediates androgen receptor-dependent non-genomic activation of signaling cascade leading to endothelial nitric oxide synthase.

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Department of Integrated Traditional Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan.


Our previous study has demonstrated that testosterone rapidly activates endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), enhancing nitric oxide (NO) release from endothelial cells (ECs) via the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt (PI3-kinase/Akt) pathway. The upstream regulators of this pathway are unknown. In this study, we further investigated the non-genomic action of testosterone in human aortic ECs. Acute (30 min) activation of eNOS caused by testosterone was unaffected by pretreatment with a transcriptional inhibitor, actinomycin D. Non-permeable testosterone-BSA rapidly induced Akt and eNOS phosphorylation. In contrast, luciferase reporter assay showed that the transcriptional activity of the androgen-responsive element (ARE) was increased by testosterone, but not by testosterone-BSA at 2h after stimulation. Immunostaining displayed co-localization of androgen receptor (AR) with caveolin-1. Fractional analysis showed that AR was expressed in caveolae-enriched membrane fractions. Immunoprecipitation assays revealed the association of AR with caveolin-1 and c-Src, suggesting complex formation among them. Testosterone rapidly increased the phosphorylation of c-Src on Tyr416, which was inhibited by an AR antagonist and by siRNA for AR. PP2, a specific-inhibitor of Src kinase, abolished the testosterone-induced phosphorylation of Akt and eNOS. Our data indicate that testosterone induces rapid assembly of a membrane signaling complex among AR, caveolin-1 and c-Src, which then facilitates activation of the c-Src/ PI3-kinase/Akt cascade, resulting in activation of eNOS.

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