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Proliferation of human primary vascular smooth muscle cells depends on serum response factor

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Olaf Heidenreich


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Smooth muscle cells (SMCs) can switch between a differentiated/contractile and an alternative proliferative phenotype. The transcription factor serum response factor (SRF) has been implicated in the regulation of gene expression profiles determining both phenotypes. Whereas strong evidence exists for a role of SRF in SMC differentiation, the contribution of SRF to SMC proliferation is less well defined. For primary human vascular SMCs in particular, existing data are non-conclusive. To study SRF functions in primary human vascular SMCs, we used an siRNA approach. siRNA-mediated SRF suppression affected the expression of established SRF target genes such as smooth muscle alpha-actin (ACTA2) or SM22 alpha (TAGLN) and decreased both F-actin formation and cell migration. Furthermore, SRF knockdown caused a cell-cycle arrest in G1 associated with reduced hyperphosphorylated pRB, cyclin A and SKP2 levels, and increased p27(kip1) (CDKN1B) protein levels. SRF-depleted cells expressed senescence-associated beta-galactosidase indicating an irreversible G1 arrest. siRNA-mediated suppression of SKP2 triggered senescence to a similar extent as SRF depletion, indicating that SRF knockdown-induced senescence may be dependent on a decrease in SKP2. Thus, SRF is an essential regulator of primary human vascular SMC proliferation and senescence. Interfering with SRF function may therefore be a promising strategy for the treatment of hyperproliferative SMC disorders such as atherosclerosis and in-stent restenosis. Crown Copyright (C) 2010 Published by Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Werth D, Grassi G, Konjer N, Dapas B, Farra R, Giansante C, Kandolf R, Guarnieri G, Nordheim A, Heidenreich O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Journal of Cell Biology

Year: 2010

Volume: 89

Issue: 2-3

Pages: 216-224

Print publication date: 01/02/2010

ISSN (print): 0171-9335

ISSN (electronic): 0724-5130

Publisher: Urban und Fischer Verlag


DOI: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2009.12.002


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Funder referenceFunder name
Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio of Trieste
1110-0-0Medical Faculty University Tubingen
SFB 510/A6Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
SFB 446/137Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft