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Fernández-Mariño AI, Cidad P, Zafra D, Nocito L, Domínguez J, Oliván-Viguera A, Köhler R, López-López JR, Pérez-García MT, Valverde MA, Guinovart JJ, Fernández-Fernández JM

Tungstate-targeting of BKαβ1 channels tunes ERK phosphorylation and cell proliferation in human vascular smooth muscle.

PLoS ONE. 2015;10(2):e0118148, PMID: 25659150

Despite the substantial knowledge on the antidiabetic, antiobesity and antihypertensive actions of tungstate, information on its primary target/s is scarce. Tungstate activates both the ERK1/2 pathway and the vascular voltage- and Ca2+-dependent large-conductance BKαβ1 potassium channel, which modulates vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation and function, respectively. Here, we have assessed the possible involvement of BKαβ1 channels in the tungstate-induced ERK phosphorylation and its relevance for VSMC proliferation. Western blot analysis in HEK cell lines showed that expression of vascular BKαβ1 channels potentiates the tungstate-induced ERK1/2 phosphorylation in a Gi/o protein-dependent manner. Tungstate activated BKαβ1 channels upstream of G proteins as channel activation was not altered by the inhibition of G proteins with GDPβS or pertussis toxin. Moreover, analysis of Gi/o protein activation measuring the FRET among heterologously expressed Gi protein subunits suggested that tungstate-targeting of BKαβ1 channels promotes G protein activation. Single channel recordings on VSMCs from wild-type and β1-knockout mice indicated that the presence of the regulatory β1 subunit was essential for the tungstate-mediated activation of BK channels in VSMCs. Moreover, the specific BK channel blocker iberiotoxin lowered tungstate-induced ERK phosphorylation by 55% and partially reverted (by 51%) the tungstate-produced reduction of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-induced proliferation in human VSMCs. Our observations indicate that tungstate-targeting of BKαβ1 channels promotes activation of PTX-sensitive Gi proteins to enhance the tungstate-induced phosphorylation of ERK, and inhibits PDGF-stimulated cell proliferation in human vascular smooth muscle.


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Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional IMIM - Parc de Salut Mar