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J Biol Chem. 2014 Feb 21;289(8):4710-22. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M114.547596. Epub 2014 Jan 7.

Lipopolysaccharide-induced lung injury involves the nitration-mediated activation of RhoA.

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From the Program in Pulmonary Vascular Disease, Vascular Biology Center and.


Acute lung injury (ALI) is characterized by increased endothelial hyperpermeability. Protein nitration is involved in the endothelial barrier dysfunction in LPS-exposed mice. However, the nitrated proteins involved in this process have not been identified. The activation of the small GTPase RhoA is a critical event in the barrier disruption associated with LPS. Thus, in this study we evaluated the possible role of RhoA nitration in this process. Mass spectroscopy identified a single nitration site, located at Tyr(34) in RhoA. Tyr(34) is located within the switch I region adjacent to the nucleotide-binding site. Utilizing this structure, we developed a peptide designated NipR1 (nitration inhibitory peptide for RhoA 1) to shield Tyr(34) against nitration. TAT-fused NipR1 attenuated RhoA nitration and barrier disruption in LPS-challenged human lung microvascular endothelial cells. Further, treatment of mice with NipR1 attenuated vessel leakage and inflammatory cell infiltration and preserved lung function in a mouse model of ALI. Molecular dynamics simulations suggested that the mechanism by which Tyr(34) nitration stimulates RhoA activity was through a decrease in GDP binding to the protein caused by a conformational change within a region of Switch I, mimicking the conformational shift observed when RhoA is bound to a guanine nucleotide exchange factor. Stopped flow kinetic analysis was used to confirm this prediction. Thus, we have identified a new mechanism of nitration-mediated RhoA activation involved in LPS-mediated endothelial barrier dysfunction and show the potential utility of "shielding" peptides to prevent RhoA nitration in the management of ALI.


Enzymology; Lung Injury; Post-translational Modification; Protein Structure; Recombinant Protein Expression; Redox Regulation; Superoxide Ion

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