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J Biol Chem. 2000 Sep 29;275(39):30707-15.

Bradykinin-regulated interactions of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway with the endothelial nitric-oxide synthase.

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


Activation of the bradykinin B2 receptor in endothelial cells initiates a complex array of cellular responses mediated by diverse signaling pathways, including stimulation of the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascade and activation of the endothelial isoform of nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS). Several protein kinases have been implicated in eNOS regulation, but the role of MAP kinases remains less well understood. We explored the interactions between eNOS and components of the MAP kinase pathway in bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC). Using co-immunoprecipitation experiments, we isolated eNOS in a complex with the MAP kinases extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) as well as the protein kinases Raf-1 and Akt. Within minutes of adding bradykinin to BAEC, the eNOS-Raf-1-ERK-Akt heteromeric complex dissociated, and it subsequently reassociated following more prolonged agonist stimulation. Bradykinin treatment of BAEC led to the activation of ERK, associated with an increase in phosphorylation of eNOS; phosphorylation of eNOS by ERK in vitro significantly reduced eNOS enzyme activity. Evidence for the direct phosphorylation of eNOS by MAP kinase in BAEC came from "back-phosphorylation" experiments using [gamma-(32)P]ATP and ERK in vitro to phosphorylate eNOS isolated from cells previously treated with bradykinin or the MAP kinase inhibitor PD98059. The ERK-catalyzed in vitro (32)P phosphorylation of eNOS isolated from BAEC treated with bradykinin was significantly attenuated compared with untreated cells, indicating that bradykinin treatment led to the phosphorylation of ERK-sensitive sites in cells. Conversely, eNOS isolated from endothelial cells pretreated with the MAP kinase inhibitor PD98059 showed increased ERK-promoted phosphorylation in vitro. Taken together, our results suggest that bradykinin-induced activation of ERK leads to eNOS phosphorylation and enzyme inhibition, a process influenced by the reversible associations of members of the MAP kinase pathway with eNOS.

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