During the course of metabolic syndrome, there is a significant increase in plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1);however the pathological role that PAI-1 plays during the course of the disease is not clear. We have recently identified PAI-1 as being key to regulation of myoendothelial junctions (MEJs), which are critical heterocellular structures linking the endothelium and smooth muscle in the resistance vasculature, coordinating communication between the two cell types. In mice with metabolic syndrome, we have shown that PAI-1 accumulates in MEJs and increases the total number of these structures, indicating a possible role in altering heterocellular communication. In order to understand how PAI-1 may alter MEJ formation, we used TNF-a to mimic the effect of metabolic syndrome and demonstrate significant increases in PAI-1 mRNA throughout endothelium, MEJ, and smooth muscle. However, after application of TNF-a, there was only a significant increase in PAI-1 protein at the MEJ. This indicates that PAI-1 may be locally translated at the MEJ. Recently, the serpine binding protein 1 (SERBP1) has been described as a novel RNA binding protein (RBP) specifically for PAI-1 mRNA that promotes stabilization of the mRNA for translation. However, an RBP requires anchoring to the cytoskeleton to remain in a specific area of the cell (e.g., the MEJ). To that end, we discovered a microtubule binding domain in the novel protein nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT), demonstrated to increase concurrently with PAI-1 during the course of metabolic syndrome, which we found to be localized to the MEJ. Therefore, we hypothesize that SERBP1 and NAMPT act together as a PAI-1 RBP complex to localize PAI-1 mRNA to the MEJ for the rapid and specific dissemination of PAI-1 protein. To test this hypothesis, we have put forth two specific aims: 1) PAI-1 mRNA is locally translated at the MEJ and 2) NAMPT regulates localization of SERBP1 to the MEJ. This proposal will focus on how PAI-1 is capable of being polarized to the MEJ using such techniques as FlAsH/ReAsH to examine nascent PAI-1 protein production and how RBP proteins could be anchored to the cytoskeleton using peptides against the microtubule binding domain of NAMPT. The aggregate of the experiments will provide for the first time a pathological mechanism for the effect of increased PAI-1 seen in metabolic syndrome.

Public Health Relevance

Metabolic syndrome is prevalent in over 50% of the American population, which if left untreated, can lead to severe cardiovascular diseases, such as hypertension and type II diabetes. However, there is currently no known therapeutic treatment. It is known that the protein plasminogen activator inhibitor- 1 (PAI-1) is always prevalent in high concentrations in the circulation as metabolic syndrome progresses and recent work by our laboratory has indicated that PAI-1 can be found in a very specialized location in the walls of blood vessels, the myoendothelial junction. Our grant proposes to dissect the mechanisms whereby PAI-1 is localized to the myoendothleial junction in hopes of understanding how PAI-1 may contribute to, or exacerbate, metabolic syndrome in the vasculature. Successful completion of this proposal could lead to novel therapeutic targets for treatment of metabolic syndrome.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Vascular Cell and Molecular Biology Study Section (VCMB)
Program Officer
Gao, Yunling
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Virginia
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Biwer, L A; Isakson, B E (2017) Endoplasmic reticulum-mediated signalling in cellular microdomains. Acta Physiol (Oxf) 219:162-175
Biwer, Lauren A; Taddeo, Evan P; Kenwood, Brandon M et al. (2016) Two functionally distinct pools of eNOS in endothelium are facilitated by myoendothelial junction lipid composition. Biochim Biophys Acta 1861:671-9
Shu, Xiaohong; Keller 4th, T C Stevenson; Begandt, Daniela et al. (2015) Endothelial nitric oxide synthase in the microcirculation. Cell Mol Life Sci 72:4561-75
Lohman, Alexander W; Leskov, Igor L; Butcher, Joshua T et al. (2015) Pannexin 1 channels regulate leukocyte emigration through the venous endothelium during acute inflammation. Nat Commun 6:7965
Straub, Adam C; Butcher, Joshua T; Billaud, Marie et al. (2014) Hemoglobin ?/eNOS coupling at myoendothelial junctions is required for nitric oxide scavenging during vasoconstriction. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 34:2594-600
Straub, Adam C; Zeigler, Angela C; Isakson, Brant E (2014) The myoendothelial junction: connections that deliver the message. Physiology (Bethesda) 29:242-9
Isakson, Brant E; Thompson, Roger J (2014) Pannexin-1 as a potentiator of ligand-gated receptor signaling. Channels (Austin) 8:118-23
Billaud, Marie; Lohman, Alexander W; Johnstone, Scott R et al. (2014) Regulation of cellular communication by signaling microdomains in the blood vessel wall. Pharmacol Rev 66:513-69
Lohman, Alexander W; Isakson, Brant E (2014) Differentiating connexin hemichannels and pannexin channels in cellular ATP release. FEBS Lett 588:1379-88
Butcher, Joshua T; Johnson, Tyler; Beers, Jody et al. (2014) Hemoglobin ? in the blood vessel wall. Free Radic Biol Med 73:136-42

Showing the most recent 10 out of 19 publications