FOXO transcription factors represent targets of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B survival pathway controlling important biological processes, such as cell cycle progression, apoptosis, vascular remodeling, stress responses, and metabolism. Recent studies suggested the existence of alternative mechanisms of FOXO-dependent gene expression beyond classical binding to a FOXO-responsive DNA-binding element (FRE). Here we analyzed the relative contribution of those mechanisms to vascular function by comparing the transcriptional and cellular responses to conditional activation of FOXO3 and a corresponding FRE-binding mutant in human primary endothelial cells. We demonstrate that FOXO3 controls expression of vascular remodeling genes in an FRE-dependent manner. In contrast, FOXO3-induced cell cycle arrest and apoptosis occurs independently of FRE binding, albeit FRE-dependent gene expression augments the proapoptotic response. These findings are supported by bioinformatical analysis, which revealed a statistical overrepresentation of cell cycle regulators and apoptosis-related genes in the group of co-regulated genes. Molecular analysis of FOXO3-induced endothelial apoptosis excluded modulators of the extrinsic death receptor pathway and demonstrated important roles for the BCL-2 family members BIM and NOXA in this process. Although NOXA essentially contributed to FRE-dependent apoptosis, BIM was effectively induced in the absence of FRE-binding, and small interfering RNA-mediated BIM depletion could rescue apoptosis induced by both FOXO3 mutants. These data suggest BIM as a critical cell type-specific mediator of FOXO3-induced endothelial apoptosis, whereas NOXA functions as an amplifying factor. Our study provides the first comprehensive analysis of alternatively regulated FOXO3 targets in relevant primary cells and underscores the importance of such genes for endothelial function and integrity.
"These findings indicate that, at early or mild stages of stress, FoxO3a is required to initiate a proliferative cellular program, but that, upon onset of severe or prolonged stress, FoxO3a may contribute to a proapoptotic program shift. Interestingly, a recent report suggested that direct binding of FoxO3a to FHRE may enhance transcriptional activation of genes involved in vascular remodeling in endothelial cells, whereas the proapoptotic functions of FoxO3a appeared to be mediated independently of FHRE binding (Czymai et al., 2010). Our findings that FoxO3a selectively increases MMP2 expression via binding to an FIGURE 7: FoxO3a is required for vascular outgrowth. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The vasoactive peptide urotensin-II (U-II) has been associated with vascular remodeling in different cardiovascular disorders. Although U-II can induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) by the NADPH oxidase NOX4 and stimulate smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation, the precise mechanisms linking U-II to vascular remodeling processes remain unclear. Forkhead Box O (FoxO) transcription factors have been associated with redox signaling and control of proliferation and apoptosis. We thus hypothesized that FoxOs are involved in the SMC response toward U-II and NOX4. We found that U-II and NOX4 stimulated FoxO activity and identified matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP2) as target gene of FoxO3a. FoxO3a activation by U-II was preceded by NOX4-dependent phosphorylation of c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase and 14-3-3 and decreased interaction of FoxO3a with its inhibitor 14-3-3, allowing MMP2 transcription. Functional studies in FoxO3a-depleted SMCs and in FoxO3a(-/-) mice showed that FoxO3a was important for basal and U-II-stimulated proliferation and vascular outgrowth, whereas treatment with an MMP2 inhibitor blocked these responses. Our study identified U-II and NOX4 as new activators of FoxO3a, and MMP2 as a novel target gene of FoxO3a, and showed that activation of FoxO3a by this pathway promotes vascular growth. FoxO3a may thus contribute to progression of cardiovascular diseases associated with vascular remodeling.
Molecular biology of the cell 09/2011; 22(22):4424-34. DOI:10.1091/mbc.E10-12-0971 · 4.47 Impact Factor
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