Endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release modulates endothelial nitric-oxide synthase via extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2-mediated serine 635 phosphorylation

Zhihong Xiao, Tingting Wang, Honghua Qin, Chao Huang, Youmei Feng, Yong Xia
Journal of Biological Chemistry 2011 June 3, 286 (22): 20100-8
Endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) plays a central role in cardiovascular regulation. eNOS function is critically modulated by Ca(2+) and protein phosphorylation, but the interrelationship between intracellular Ca(2+) mobilization and eNOS phosphorylation is poorly understood. Here we show that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) Ca(2+) release activates eNOS by selectively promoting its Ser-635/633 (bovine/human) phosphorylation. With bovine endothelial cells, thapsigargin-induced ER Ca(2+) release caused a dose-dependent increase in eNOS Ser-635 phosphorylation, leading to elevated NO production. ER Ca(2+) release also promoted eNOS Ser-633 phosphorylation in mouse vessels in vivo. This effect was independent of extracellular Ca(2+) and selective to Ser-635 because the phosphorylation status of other eNOS sites, including Ser-1179 or Thr-497, was unaffected in thapsigargin-treated cells. Blocking ERK1/2 abolished ER Ca(2+) release-induced eNOS Ser-635 phosphorylation, whereas inhibiting protein kinase A or Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II had no effect. Protein phosphorylation assay confirmed that ERK1/2 directly phosphorylated the eNOS Ser-635 residue in vitro. Further studies demonstrated that ER Ca(2+) release-induced ERK1/2 activation mediated the enhancing action of purine or bradykinin receptor stimulation on eNOS Ser-635/633 phosphorylation in bovine/human endothelial cells. Mutating the Ser-635 to nonphosphorylatable alanine prevented ATP from activating eNOS in cells. Taken together, these studies reveal that ER Ca(2+) release enhances eNOS Ser-635 phosphorylation and function via ERK1/2 activation. Because ER Ca(2+) is commonly mobilized by agonists or physicochemical stimuli, the identified ER Ca(2+)-ERK1/2-eNOS Ser-635 phosphorylation pathway may have a broad role in the regulation of endothelial function.

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