Induction of connective tissue growth factor expression by hypoxia in human lung fibroblasts via the MEKK1/MEK1/ERK1/GLI-1/GLI-2 and AP-1 pathways

Yi Cheng, Chien-Huang Lin, Jing Yun Chen, Chien Hua Li, Yu Tin Liu, Bing Chang Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Several reports have indicated that hypoxia, GLI, and connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) contribute to pulmonary fibrosis in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. We investigated the participation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) kinase 1 (MEKK1)/ MEK1/ERK1/GLI-1/2 and activator protein-1 (AP-1) signaling in hypoxia-induced CTGF expression in human lung fibroblasts. Hypoxia time-dependently increased CTGF expression, which was attenuated by the small interfering RNA (siRNA) of GLI-1 (GLI-1 siRNA) and GLI-2 (GLI-2 siRNA) in both human lung fibroblast cell line (WI-38) and primary human lung fibroblasts (NHLFs). Moreover, GLI-1 siRNA and GLI-2 siRNA attenuated hypoxia-induced CTGF-luciferase activity, and the treatment of cells with hypoxia induced GLI-1 and GLI-2 translocation. Furthermore, hypoxia-induced CTGF expression was reduced by an MEK inhibitor (PD98059), MEK1 siRNA, ERK inhibitor (U0126), ERK1 siRNA, and MEKK1 siRNA. Both PD98059 and U0126 significantly attenuated hypoxia-induced CTGF-luciferase activity. Hypoxia time-dependently increased MEKK1, ERK, and p38 MAPK phosphorylation. Moreover, SB203580 (a p38 MAPK inhibitor) also apparently inhibited hypoxiainduced CTGF expression. The treatment of cells with hypoxia induced ERK, GLI-1, or GLI-2 complex formation. Hypoxia-induced GLI-1 and GLI-2 translocation into the nucleus was significantly attenuated by U0126. In addition, hypoxia-induced ERK Tyr204 phosphorylation was impeded by MEKK1 siRNA. Moreover, hypoxia-induced CTGF-luciferase activity was attenuated by cells transfected with AP-1 site mutation in a CTGF construct. Exposure to hypoxia caused a time-dependent phosphorylation of c-Jun, but not of c-Fos. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) revealed that hypoxia induced the recruitment of c-Jun, GLI-1, and GLI-2 to the AP-1 promoter region of CTGF. Hypoxia-treated cells exhibited an increase in α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and collagen production, which was blocked by GLI-1 siRNA and GLI-2 siRNA. Overall, these data implied that the MEKK1/MEK1/ERK1/ GLI-1/GLI-2, and AP-1 pathways mediated hypoxia-induced CTGF expression in human lung fibroblasts. Furthermore, GLI-1 and GLI-2 found to be involved in hypoxia-induced α-SMA and collagen expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0160593
JournalPLoS One
Volume11
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Medicine(all)

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