Arrestins 2 and 3 differentially regulate ETA and P2Y2 receptor-mediated cell signaling and migration in arterial smooth muscle

Gavin E. Morris, Carl P. Nelson, Paul J. Brighton, Nicholas B. Standen, R. A. John Challiss, Jonathon M. Willets


Overstimulation of endothelin type A (ETA) and nucleotide (P2Y) Gαq-coupled receptors in vascular smooth muscle causes vasoconstriction, hypertension, and, eventually, hypertrophy and vascular occlusion. G protein-coupled receptor kinases (GRKs) and arrestin proteins are sequentially recruited by agonist-occupied Gαq-coupled receptors to terminate phospholipase C signaling, preventing prolonged/inappropriate contractile signaling. However, these proteins also play roles in the regulation of several mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling cascades known to be essential for vascular remodeling. Here we investigated whether different arrestin isoforms regulate endothelin and nucleotide receptor MAPK signaling in rat aortic smooth muscle cells (ASMCs). When intracellular Ca2+ levels were assessed in isolated ASMCs loaded with Ca2+-sensitive dyes, P2Y2 and ETA receptor desensitization was attenuated by selective small-interfering (si)RNA-mediated depletion of G protein-coupled receptor kinase 2 (GRK2). Using similar siRNA techniques, knockdown of arrestin2 prevented P2Y2 receptor desensitization and enhanced and prolonged p38 and ERK MAPK signals, while arrestin3 depletion was ineffective. Conversely, arrestin3 knockdown prevented ETA receptor desensitization and attenuated ET1-stimulated p38 and ERK signals, while arrestin2 depletion had no effect. Using Transwell assays to assess agonist-stimulated ASMC migration, we found that UTP-stimulated migration was markedly attenuated following arrestin2 depletion, while ET1-stimulated migration was attenuated following knockdown of either arrestin. These data highlight a differential arrestin-dependent regulation of ETA and P2Y2 receptor-stimulated MAPK signaling. GRK2 and arrestin expression are essential for agonist-stimulated ASMC migration, which, as a key process in vascular remodeling, highlights the potential roles of GRK2 and arrestin proteins in the progression of vascular disease.

  • G protein-coupled receptor kinase
  • arrestin
  • extracellular signal-regulated kinase
  • p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • rat aortic smooth muscle
  • endothelin type A


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