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PLoS One. 2019 May 1;14(5):e0216218. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0216218. eCollection 2019.

Epigenetic control of the angiotensin-converting enzyme in endothelial cells during inflammation.

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Institute for Vascular Signalling, Centre for Molecular Medicine, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK), Partner site Rhein-Main, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.


The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) plays a central role in the renin-angiotensin system, which is involved in the regulation of blood pressure. Alterations in ACE expression or activity are associated with various pathological phenotypes, particularly cardiovascular diseases. In human endothelial cells, ACE was shown to be negatively regulated by tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α. To examine, whether or not, epigenetic factors were involved in ACE expression regulation, methylated DNA immunoprecipitation and RNA interference experiments directed against regulators of DNA methylation homeostasis i.e., DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and ten-eleven translocation methylcytosine dioxygenases (TETs), were performed. TNFα stimulation enhanced DNA methylation in two distinct regions within the ACE promoter via a mechanism linked to DNMT3a and DNMT3b, but not to DNMT1. At the same time, TET1 protein expression was downregulated. In addition, DNA methylation decreased the binding affinity of the transcription factor MYC associated factor X to the ACE promoter. In conclusion, DNA methylation determines the TNFα-dependent regulation of ACE gene transcription and thus protein expression in human endothelial cells.

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