Leptin induces epigenetic regulation of transient receptor potential melastatin 7 in rat adrenal pheochromocytoma cells

Bonnie Ho Yee Yeung, Kelly Griffiths, Liron Berger, Omkar Paudel, Mi Kyung Shin, Liangyou Rui, James S.K. Sham, Vsevolod Y. Polotsky, Wan Yee Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obesity elevates the plasma level of leptin, which has been associated with hypertension. Our recent studies in mice demonstrated that leptin increases blood pressure by activating the carotid sinus nerve, which transmits the chemosensory input from carotid bodies (CBs) to the medullary centers, and that the effect of leptin is mediated via Trpm7 (TRP [transient receptor potential] melastatin 7) channels in CB glomus cells. We also found that Trpm7 overexpression and Trpm7 promoter demethylation in CBs correlate positively with the hyperleptinemia and leptin receptor overexpression in CBs. Hence, we postulated that leptin epigenetically regulates Trpm7 expression in CBs. We addressed our hypothesis by using rat adrenal pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells as a model of CB glomus cells. PC12 cells expressing LEPRb (long, active form of leptin receptor) showed dramatic induction of the promoter activity and expression of Trpm7 upon leptin treatment. The increased Trpm7 expression coincided with the reduction of CpG site-specific methylation and trimethylation of H3K27 (H3 [histone 3] K27 [lysine 27]) and the increase of acetylation of H3K27 and trimethylation of H3K4 (H3 lysine 4) at the Trpm7 promoter. The inhibitor of STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) signaling, SD1008, reversed the leptin-induced Trpm7 promoter activity via modulations of the binding of pSTAT3 (phosphorylated STAT3) and DNMT3B (DNA methyltransferase 3B) and modifications of H3K27 and H3K4 at the Trpm7 promoter. Our results suggest that leptin-activated pSTAT3 epigenetically regulates the transcription of Trpm7 through DNA methylation and histone modifications. Because epigenetic changes are reversible, targeting epigenetic modifications of Trpm7 may serve as a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of hypertension in obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)214
Number of pages1
JournalAmerican journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • DNA methylation
  • Histone modifications
  • LEPRb
  • Leptin
  • TRPM7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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