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Phosphoproteomic analysis of thrombin- and p38 MAPK-regulated signaling networks in endothelial cells.


Endothelial dysfunction is a hallmark of inflammation and is mediated by inflammatory factors that signal through G protein-coupled receptors including protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR1). PAR1, a receptor for thrombin, signals via the small GTPase RhoA and myosin light chain intermediates to facilitate endothelial barrier permeability. PAR1 also induces endothelial barrier disruption through a p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase-dependent pathway, which does not integrate into the RhoA/MLC pathway; however, the PAR1-p38 signaling pathways that promote endothelial dysfunction remain poorly defined. To identify effectors of this pathway, we performed a global phosphoproteome analysis of thrombin signaling regulated by p38 in human cultured endothelial cells using multiplexed quantitative mass spectrometry. We identified 5491 unique phosphopeptides and 2317 phosphoproteins, four distinct dynamic phosphoproteome profiles of thrombin-p38 signaling, and an enrichment of biological functions associated with endothelial dysfunction, including modulators of endothelial barrier disruption and a subset of kinases predicted to regulate p38-dependent thrombin signaling. Using available antibodies to detect identified phosphosites of key p38-regulated proteins, we discovered that inhibition of p38 activity and siRNA-targeted depletion of the p38α isoform increased basal phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2, resulting in amplified thrombin-stimulated extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase 1/2 phosphorylation that was dependent on PAR1. We also discovered a role for p38 in the phosphorylation of α-catenin, a component of adherens junctions, suggesting that this phosphorylation may function as an important regulatory process. Taken together, these studies define a rich array of thrombin- and p38-regulated candidate proteins that may serve important roles in endothelial dysfunction.

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