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Crosstalk between BMP signaling and KCNK3 in phenotypic switching of pulmonary vascular smooth muscle cells
Yeongju Yeo1 (Research worker), Hayoung Jeong1 (Graduate student), Minju Kim1 (Graduate student), Yang Hee Choi1 (Graduate student), Koung Li Kim 1 (Research Professor), wonhee suh 1,* (Professor)
1Global Innovative Drug, Chung-Ang University
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a progressive and devastating disease whose pathogenesis is associated with a phenotypic switch of pulmonary arterial vascular smooth muscle cells (PASMCs). Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling and potassium two pore domain channel subfamily K member 3 (KCNK3) play crucial roles in PAH pathogenesis. However, the relationship between BMP signaling and KCNK3 expression in the PASMC phenotypic switching process has not been studied. In this study, we explored the effect of BMPs on KCNK3 expression and the role of KCNK3 in the BMP-mediated PASMC phenotypic switch. Expression levels of BMP receptor 2 (BMPR2) and KCNK3 were downregulated in PASMCs of rats with PAH compared to those in normal controls, implying a possible association between BMP/BMPR2 signaling and KCNK3 expression in the pulmonary vasculature. Treatment with BMP2, BMP4, and BMP7 significantly increased KCNK3 expression in primary human PASMCs (HPASMCs). BMPR2 knockdown and treatment with Smad1/5 signaling inhibitor substantially abrogated the BMP-induced increase in KCNK3 expression, suggesting that KCNK3 expression in HPASMCs is regulated by the canonical BMP-BMPR2-Smad1/5 signaling pathway. Furthermore, KCNK3 knockdown and treatment with a KCNK3 channel blocker completely blocked BMP-mediated anti-proliferation and expression of contractile marker genes in HPAMSCs, suggesting that the expression and functional activity of KCNK3 are required for BMP-mediated acquisition of the quiescent PASMC phenotype. Overall, our findings show a crosstalk between BMP signaling and KCNK3 in regulating the PASMC phenotype, wherein BMPs upregulate KCNK3 expression and KCNK3 then mediates BMP-induced phenotypic switching of PASMCs. Our results indicate that the dysfunction and/or downregulation of BMPR2 and KCNK3 observed in PAH work together to induce aberrant changes in the PASMC phenotype, providing insights into the complex molecular pathogenesis of PAH.
Abstract, Accepted Manuscript(in press) [Submitted on June 13, 2022, Accepted on August 12, 2022]
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