Endothelial exposure to hypoxia induces Egr-1 expression involving PKCα-mediated Ras/Raf-1/ERK1/2 pathway

Leu Wei Lo, Jing Jy Cheng, Jeng Jiann Chiu, Being Sun Wung, Yu Chi Liu, Danny Ling Wang

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89 Citations (Scopus)


Hypoxia induces endothelial dysfunction that results in a series of cardiovascular injuries. Early growth response-1 (Egr-1) has been indicated as a common theme in vascular injury. Here we demonstrates that in bovine aortic endothelial cells (ECs) subjected to hypoxia (PO2≈23 mmHg), rapidly increased Egr-1 mRNA expression which peaked within 30 min and decreased afterwards. Treatment of ECs with PD98059, a specific inhibitor to mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK/ERK), inhibited this hypoxia-induced Egr-1 expression. The involvement of ERK pathway was further substantiated by the inhibition of Egr-1 promoter activities when ECs were co-transfected with a dominant negative mutant of Ras (RasN17), Raf-1 (Raf 301), or a catalytically inactive mutant of ERK2 (mERK). In addition, the hypoxia-induced transcriptional activity of Elk-1, an ERK substrate, was abolished by administration of PD98059. Addition of calphostin C, a protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor, completely blocked the hypoxia-augmented Egr-1 expression. The likewise occurred while exposing ECs to D609 to inhibit phospholipase C and BAPTA/AM to chelate intracellular calcium. Hypoxia to ECs increased ERK phosphorylation within 10 min and which was abolished by administration of PD98095, calphostin C, and BAPTA/AM. Hypoxia triggered a transient translocation of PKCα from cytosol to membrane fraction concurrent with the association of PKCα to Raf-1. Involvement of PKCα in mediating ERK activation was further confirmed by the inhibition of ERK and the subsequent Egr-1 gene induction with antisense oligonucleotides to PKCα. These results indicate that ECs under hypoxia induce Egr-1 expression and this induction requires calcium, phospholipase C activation, and PKCα-mediated Ras/Raf-1/ERK1/2 signaling pathway. Our finding support the importance of specific PKC isozyme linked to MAPK pathway in the regulation of endothelial responses to hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-312
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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