JAK/STAT Signaling Pathway Regulates Nox1 and Nox4-Based NADPH Oxidase in Human Aortic Smooth Muscle Cells
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Objective— Oxidative stress mediated by Nox1- and Nox4-based NADPH oxidase (Nox) plays a key role in vascular diseases. The molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of Nox are not entirely elucidated. Because JAK/STAT regulates many genes linked to inflammation, cell proliferation, and differentiation, we questioned whether this pathway is involved in the regulation of Nox1 and Nox4 in human aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs).
Methods and Results— Cultured SMCs were exposed to interferon γ (IFNγ) for 24 hours. Using lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence and dihydroethidium assays, real-time polymerase chain reaction, and Western blot analysis, we found that JAK/STAT inhibitors significantly diminished the IFNγ-dependent upregulation of Nox activity, Nox1 and Nox4 expression. In silico analysis revealed the presence of highly conserved GAS elements within human Nox1, Nox4, p22phox, p47phox, and p67phox promoters. Transient overexpression of STAT1/STAT3 augmented the promoter activities of each subunit. JAK/STAT blockade reduced the Nox subunits transcription. Chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrated the physical interaction of STAT1/STAT3 proteins with the predicted GAS elements from Nox1 and Nox4 promoters.
Conclusions— JAK/STAT is a key regulator of Nox1 and Nox4 in human vascular SMCs. Inhibition of JAK/STAT pathway and the consequent Nox-dependent oxidative stress may be an efficient therapeutic strategy to reduce atherogenesis.