Estrogen Receptor–Mediated Regulation of MicroRNA Inhibits Proliferation of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells
Objective—Estradiol (E2) regulates gene transcription by activating estrogen receptor-α and estrogen receptor-β. Many of the genes regulated by E2 via estrogen receptors are repressed, yet the molecular mechanisms that mediate E2-induced gene repression are currently unknown. We hypothesized that E2, acting through estrogen receptors, regulates expression of microRNAs (miRs) leading to repression of expression of specific target genes.
Methods and Results—Here, we report that E2 significantly upregulates the expression of 26 miRs and downregulates the expression of 6 miRs in mouse aorta. E2-mediated upregulation of one of these miRs, miR-203, was chosen for further study. In cultured vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC), E2-mediated upregulation of miR-203 is mediated by estrogen receptor-α (but not estrogen receptor-β) via transcriptional upregulation of the primary miR. We demonstrate that the transcription factors Zeb-1 and AP-1 play critical roles in mediating E2-induced upregulation of miR-203 transcription. We show further that miR-203 mediates E2-induced repression of Abl1, and p63 protein abundance in VSMC. Finally, knocking-down miR-203 abolishes E2-mediated inhibition of VSMC proliferation, and overexpression of miR-203 inhibits cultured VSMC proliferation, but not vascular endothelial cell proliferation.
Conclusion—Our findings demonstrate that E2 regulates expression of miRs in the vasculature and support the estrogen receptors-dependent induction of miRs as a mechanism for E2-mediated gene repression. Furthermore, our findings demonstrate that miR-203 contributes to E2-induced inhibition of VSMC proliferation and highlight the potential of miR-203 as a therapeutic agent in the treatment of proliferative cardiovascular diseases.
- Received July 23, 2012.
- Accepted October 17, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.