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Open Access Publications from the University of California

G protein-coupled receptors activate p38 MAPK via a non-canonical TAB1-TAB2- and TAB1-TAB3-dependent pathway in endothelial cells.

  • Author(s): Grimsey, Neil J
  • Lin, Ying
  • Narala, Rachan
  • Rada, Cara C
  • Mejia-Pena, Hilda
  • Trejo, JoAnn
  • et al.

Endothelial dysfunction is induced by inflammatory mediators including multiple G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) agonists. However, the GPCR signaling pathways that promote endothelial dysfunction are incompletely understood. We previously showed that thrombin promotes endothelial barrier disruption through autophosphorylation and activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) via a non-canonical transforming growth factor-β-activated protein kinase-1-binding protein-1 (TAB1) and TAB2-dependent pathway rather than the canonical three-tiered kinase cascade. Here, we sought to determine whether other GPCR agonists stimulate p38 MAPK activation via this non-canonical pathway in human endothelial cells derived from different vascular beds. Using primary human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), HUVEC-derived EA.hy926 cells, and human dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMECs), we found that both non-canonical and canonical p38 activation pathways components are expressed in these various endothelial cell types, including TAB3, a structurally-related TAB2 homolog. Moreover, multiple GPCRs agonists, including thrombin, histamine, prostaglandin E2, and ADP, stimulated robust p38 autophosphorylation, whereas phosphorylation of the upstream MAPKs MAP kinase kinase 3 (MKK3) and MKK6, was virtually undetectable, indicating that non-canonical p38 activation may exist for other GPCRs. Indeed, in EA.hy926 cells, thrombin- and histamine-stimulated p38 activation depended on TAB1-TAB2, whereas in primary HUVECs, both TAB1-TAB2 and TAB1-TAB3 were required for p38 activation. In HDMECs, thrombin-induced p38 activation depended on TAB1-TAB3, but histamine-induced p38 activation required TAB1-TAB2. Moreover, thrombin- and histamine-stimulated interleukin-6 production required both TAB1-TAB2 and TAB1-TAB3 in HUVEC. We conclude that multiple GPCR agonists utilize non-canonical TAB1-TAB2 and TAB1-TAB3-dependent p38 activation to promote endothelial inflammatory responses.

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