Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 phosphorylates endothelial nitric oxide synthase at serine 116

Du-Hyong Cho, Jungwon Seo, Jung-Hyun Park, Chulman Jo, Yoon Jung Choi, Jae-Won Soh, Inho Jo
Hypertension 2010, 55 (2): 345-52
Nitric oxide (NO) production in endothelial cells (EC) is regulated by multisite phosphorylation of specific serine and threonine residues in endothelial NO synthase (eNOS). Among these, eNOS-Ser116 is phosphorylated in the basal state, and its phosphorylation contributes to basal NO production. Here, we investigated the mechanism by which eNOS-Ser116 is phosphorylated during the basal state using bovine aortic EC. Although a previous study suggested that protein kinase C was involved in eNOS-Ser116 phosphorylation, overexpression of various protein kinase C isoforms did not affect eNOS-Ser116 phosphorylation. An in silico analysis using a motif scan revealed that the eNOS-Ser116 residue might be a substrate for proline-directed protein kinases. Roscovitine, a specific inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK), 1, 2, and 5, but not an inhibitor of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase or glycogen synthase kinase 3beta, inhibited eNOS-Ser116 phosphorylation dose dependently. Furthermore, purified CDK1, 2, or 5 directly phosphorylated eNOS-Ser116 in vitro. Ectopic expression of the dominant-negative CDK5 but not dominant-negative CDK1 or dominant-negative CDK2 repressed eNOS-Ser116 phosphorylation and increased NO production. In addition, CDK5 activity was detected in bovine aortic EC, and coimmunoprecipitation and confocal microscopy studies revealed a colocalization of eNOS and CDK5. Cotransfection of CDK5 and p25, the specific CDK5 activator, increased eNOS-Ser116 phosphorylation and decreased NO production, but its parent molecule, p35, and p39, another activator, were not detected in bovine aortic EC, which suggests the existence of a novel CDK5 activator. Overall, this is the first study to find that CDK5 is a physiological kinase responsible for eNOS-Ser116 phosphorylation and regulation of NO production.

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