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J Biol Chem. 1998 Sep 11;273(37):24266-71.

Post-transcriptional regulation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase mRNA stability by Rho GTPase.

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Cardiovascular Division, Brigham & Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The mechanism by which 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl (HMG)-CoA reductase inhibitors increase endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression is unknown. To determine whether changes in isoprenoid synthesis affects eNOS expression, human endothelial cells were treated with the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor, mevastatin (1-10 microM), in the presence of L-mevalonate (200 microM), geranylgeranylpyrophosphate (GGPP, 1-10 microM), farnesylpyrophosphate (FPP, 5-10 microM), or low density lipoprotein (LDL, 1 mg/ml). Mevastatin increased eNOS mRNA and protein levels by 305 +/- 15% and 180 +/- 11%, respectively. Co-treatment with L-mevalonate or GGPP, but not FPP or LDL, reversed mevastatin's effects. Because Rho GTPases undergo geranylgeranyl modification, we investigated whether Rho regulates eNOS expression. Immunoblot analyses and [35S]GTPgammaS-binding assays revealed that mevastatin inhibited Rho membrane translocation and GTP binding activity by 60 +/- 5% and 78 +/- 6%, both of which were reversed by co-treatment with GGPP but not FPP. Furthermore, inhibition of Rho by Clostridium botulinum C3 transferase (50 microg/ml) or by overexpression of a dominant-negative N19RhoA mutant increased eNOS expression. In contrast, activation of Rho by Escherichia coli cytotoxic necrotizing factor-1 (200 ng/ml) decreased eNOS expression. These findings indicate that Rho negatively regulates eNOS expression and that HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors up-regulate eNOS expression by blocking Rho geranylgeranylation, which is necessary for its membrane-associated activity.

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