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Mol Biol Cell. 1999 Feb;10(2):361-72.

NF-kappaB and AP-1 activation by nitric oxide attenuated apoptotic cell death in RAW 264.7 macrophages.

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University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine IV-Experimental Division, Erlangen, Germany.


A toxic dose of the nitric oxide (NO) donor S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO; 1 mM) promoted apoptotic cell death of RAW 264.7 macrophages, which was attenuated by cellular preactivation with a nontoxic dose of GSNO (200 microM) or with lipopolysaccharide, interferon-gamma, and NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (LPS/IFN-gamma/NMMA) for 15 h. Protection from apoptosis was achieved by expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (Cox-2). Here we investigated the underlying mechanisms leading to Cox-2 expression. LPS/IFN-gamma/NMMA prestimulation activated nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB and promoted Cox-2 expression. Cox-2 induction by low-dose GSNO demanded activation of both NF-kappaB and activator protein-1 (AP-1). NF-kappaB supershift analysis implied an active p50/p65 heterodimer, and a luciferase reporter construct, containing four copies of the NF-kappaB site derived from the murine Cox-2 promoter, confirmed NF-kappaB activation after NO addition. An NF-kappaB decoy approach abrogated not only Cox-2 expression after low-dose NO or after LPS/IFN-gamma/NMMA but also inducible protection. The importance of AP-1 for Cox-2 expression and cell protection by low-level NO was substantiated by using the extracellular signal-regulated kinase inhibitor PD98059, blocking NO-elicited Cox-2 expression, but leaving the cytokine signal unaltered. Transient transfection of a dominant-negative c-Jun mutant further attenuated Cox-2 expression by low-level NO. Whereas cytokine-mediated Cox-2 induction relies on NF-kappaB activation, a low-level NO-elicited Cox-2 response required activation of both NF-kappaB and AP-1.

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