The long-term goal of Project 2 is to elucidate the post-transcriptional mechanisms that modulate gene expression in inflammation of the vasculature. Interferon (IFN)-v is the classic activator of monocyte/macro- phages, and it induces rapid transcription of inflammatory growth factors, proteases, chemokines, and gen- erators of radical species. If unregulated, this process becomes chronic and monocyte/macrophage products accumulate, damage host tissue, and contribute to chronic disorders of blood vessels, e.g., atherosclerosis. The termination of inflammation is not a passive process that begins after elimination of the initial insult;in contrast, intrinsic mechanisms actively limit expression of potentially injurious proteins. Recently, investigat- ors have recognized the important role of post-transcriptional processes in limiting or resolving inflammation. We have discovered a novel translational control pathway that acts as an endogenous regulator of the inflammatory response. In myeloid cells, IFN-y induces assembly of the heterotetrameric, IFN-Gamma- Activated inhibitor of Translation (GAIT) complex, which binds an RNA element in the 3'untranslated region of certain pro-inflammatory target mRNAs, e.g., vascular endothelial growth factor-A, and inhibits their translation. In Preliminary Studies we show that one GAIT protein, glutamyl-prolyl-tRNA synthetase (EPRS), is central to the GAIT system because it is responsible for target mRNA recognition, and its function is regu- lated by phosphorylation and binding of the other 3 GAIT proteins. We suggest EPRS is not an inert, protein- binding scaffold, but rather a dynamic system subject to stimulus-inducible modifications that regulate GAIT complex assembly and function. Based on these results, we propose the following hypothesis: Phosphoryl- ation of EPRS by IFN-y-dependent kinases causes conformational changes in EPRS that regulate assembly of the GAIT complex, which silences translation of inflammatory mRNA targets and contributes to the resolu- tion of chronic inflammation. We will test this hypothesis by pursuit of three Specific Aims.
In Aim 1 we will determine the EPRS domains required for GAIT complex assembly and GAIT element-binding.
In Aim 2 we will determine the role of EPRS phosphorylation in GAIT complex assembly and function.
In Aim 3 we will investigate the anti-inflammatory function of EPRS and the GAIT complex in vivo.
Our studies will elucidate a new pathway that regulates the synthesis of inflammatory proteins by macrophages, an important process in the development of vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis. The pathway under investigation contributes to the limitation and resolution of chronic inflammation, an important causative factor in disease progression. A deeper understanding of inflammatory "stop" pathways is important because defects in these pathways can contribute to vascular disorders, and because the pathway itself may present alternative targets for development of novel anti- inflammatory therapeutics.
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