Nucleocytoplasmic shuttling via importins is central to the function of eukaryotic cells and an integral part of the processes that lead to many human diseases. In this study, we addressed the role of α and β importins in the mechanism of endothelial cell (EC) inflammation and permeability, important pathogenic features of many inflammatory diseases such as acute lung injury and atherosclerosis. RNAi-mediated knockdown of importin α4 or α3 each inhibited NF-κB activation, proinflammatory gene (ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and IL-6) expression, and thereby endothelial adhesivity towards HL-60 cells, upon thrombin challenge. The inhibitory effect of α4 and α3 knockdown was associated with impaired nuclear import and consequently, DNA binding of RelA/p65 subunit of NF-κB and occurred independently of IκBα degradation. Intriguingly, knockdown of importins α4 and α3 also inhibited thrombin-induced RelA/p65 phosphorylation at Ser536, showing a novel role of α importins in regulating transcriptional activity of RelA/p65. Similarly, knockdown of importin β1, but not β2, blocked thrombin-induced activation of RelA/p65 and its target genes. In parallel studies, TNFα-mediated inflammatory responses in EC were refractory to knockdown of importins α4, α3 or β1, indicating a stimulus-specific regulation of RelA/p65 and EC inflammation by these importins. Importantly, α4, α3, or β1 knockdown also protected against thrombin-induced EC barrier disruption by inhibiting the loss of VE-cadherin at adherens junctions and by regulating actin cytoskeletal rearrangement. These results identify α4, α3 and β1 as critical mediators of EC inflammation and permeability associated with intravascular coagulation.
Cellular Signalling – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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