On the basis of our previous studies on RhoA signaling in smooth muscle cells (SMC), we hypothesized that RhoA-mediated nuclear translocalization of the myocardin-related transcription factors (MRTFs) was important for regulating SMC phenotype. MRTF-A protein and MRTF-B message were detected in aortic SMC and in many adult mouse organs that contain a large SMC component. Both MRTFs upregulated SMC-specific promoter activity as well as endogenous SM22α expression in multipotential 10T1/2 cells, although to a lesser extent than myocardin. We used enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) fusion proteins to demonstrate that the myocardin factors have dramatically different localization patterns and that the stimulation of SMC-specific transcription by certain RhoA-dependent agonists was likely mediated by increased nuclear translocation of the MRTFs. Importantly, a dominant-negative form of MRTF-A (ΔB1/B2) that traps endogenous MRTFs in the cytoplasm inhibited the SM α-actin, SM22α, and SM myosin heavy chain promoters in SMC and attenuated the effects of sphingosine 1-phosphate and transforming growth factor (TGF)-β on SMC-specific transcription. Our data confirmed the importance of the NH 2-terminal RPEL domains for regulating MRTF localization, but our analysis of MRTF-A/myocardin chimeras and myocardin RPEL2 mutations indicated that the myocardin B1/B2 region can override this signal. Gel shift assays demonstrated that myocardin factor activity correlated well with ternary complex formation at the SM α-actin CArGs and that MRTF-serum response factor interactions were partially dependent on CArG sequence. Taken together, our results indicate that the MRTFs regulate SMC-specific gene expression in at least some SMC subtypes and that regulation of MRTF nuclear localization may be important for the effects of selected agonists on SMC phenotype.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2007|
- Serum response factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas