GEF-H1/RhoA signalling pathway mediates lipopolysaccharide-induced intercellular adhesion molecular-1 expression in endothelial cells via activation of p38 and NF-κB

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The purpose of study is to investigate the effects of GEF-H1/RhoA pathway in regulating intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) expression in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated endothelial cells. Exposure of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) to LPS induced GEF-H1 and ICAM-1 expression in dose- and time-dependent up-regulating manners. Pretreatment with Clostridium difficile toxin B-10463 (TcdB-10463), an inhibitor of Rho activity, reduced LPS-related phosphorylation of p65 at Ser 536 in a dose-dependent manner. Inhibition of TLR4 expression significantly blocked LPS-induced RhoA activity, NF-κB transactivation, GEF-H1 and ICAM-1 expression. Coimmunoprecipitation assay indicated that LPS-activated TLR4 and GEF-H1 formed a signalling complex, suggesting that LPS, acting through TLR4, stimulates GEF-H1 expression and RhoA activity, and thereby induces NF-κB transactivation and ICAM-1 gene expression. However, GEF-H1/RhoA regulates LPS-induced NF-κB transactivation and ICAM-1 expression in a MyD88-independent pathway because inhibition of MyD88 expression could not block LPS-induced RhoA activity. Furthermore, pretreatment with Y-27632, an inhibitor of ROCK, significantly reduced LPS-induced p38, ERK1/2 and p65 phosphorylation, indicating that ROCK acts as an upstream effector of p38 and ERK1/2 to promote LPS-induced NF-κB transactivation and ICAM-1 expression. What is more, the p38 inhibitor (SB203580) but not ERK1/2 inhibitor (PD98059) blocked LPS-induce NF-κB transactivation and ICAM-1 expression, which demonstrates that RhoA mediates LPS-induced NF-κB transactivation and ICAM-1 expression dominantly through p38 but not ERK1/2 activation. In summary, our data suggest that LPS-induced ICAM-1 synthesis in HUVECs is regulated by GEF-H1/RhoA-dependent signaling pathway via activation of p38 and NF-κB.

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