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Title: Signalling through Rho GTPases in cardiomyocytes
Author: Marshall, Andrew Keith
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2011
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Endothelin-1 (ET-1) promotes changes in gene/protein expression in cardiomyocytes leading to hypertrophy. This results from activation of intracellular signalling pathways including small G proteins that activate protein kinases. Thus, ET-1 activates RhoA that stimulates ROCK and PKN, and Ras that promotes activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2). Microarrays were used to dissect the roles of ERK1/2 vs RhoA in the cardiomyocyte transcriptomic response to ET-1 using PD184352 and C3 endotoxin from C. botulinum (C3T) for selective inhibition of the ERK1/2 cascade and RhoA, respectively. Microarray data were analysed using GeneSpring and data were validated by qPCR. ERK1/2 signalling positively regulated ~65% of the early gene expression response to ET-1 with a small (~2%) negative effect, whereas RhoA signalling positively regulated ~11% of the early gene expression response to ET-1 with a greater (~14%) negative contribution. Of RNAs non-responsive to ET-1, 66 or 448 were regulated by PD184352 or C3T, respectively, indicating that RhoA had a more significant effect on baseline RNA expression. mRNAs upregulated by ET-1 encoded several receptor ligands (e.g. Ereg, Areg) and transcription factors (e.g. Abra/STARS, Srf) that potentially propagate the response. Published studies suggest that PKN1 (activated by RhoA) is important in cardiomyocyte gene expression. Adenoviruses were generated to overexpress FLAG-tagged PKN1 in cardiomyocytes for protein kinase studies. Unexpectedly, PKN1 was not activated by ET-1, but was activated by oxidative stress, insulin, or hyperosmotic shock, stimuli that do not activate RhoA. Thus, PKN1 is not necessarily an effector of RhoA in cardiomyocytes. In conclusion, ERK1/2 dominates over RhoA in the early transcriptomic response to ET-1. RhoA plays a major role in maintaining baseline RNA expression but, as with upregulation of Abra/Srf by ET-1, RhoA may regulate changes in RNA expression over longer times. However, the effects of RhoA on cardiomyocyte gene expression are unlikely to be mediated through PKN1.
Supervisor: Clerk, Angela ; Sugden, Peter Sponsor: British Heart Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available