S1P receptor signalling and RGS proteins; expression and function in vascular smooth muscle cells and transfected CHO cells

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Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) signalling via G protein-coupled receptors is important for the regulation of cell function and differentiation. Specific Regulators of G protein Signalling (RGS) proteins modulate the function of these receptors in many cell types including vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Therefore, we investigated the role of altered expression levels of RGS proteins in S1P receptor function in VSMCs and transfected CHO cells. The mRNA expression of the S1P1 receptor, RGS4 and RGS16 were down-regulated in VSMCs during phenotypic modulation induced by culturing, whereas mRNA levels of RGS2, RGS3, S1P2 and S1P3 receptors were unchanged. Interestingly, the expression level of RGS5 was transiently up-regulated. Despite major alterations in RGS levels, S1P-induced calcium elevation in VSMCs was not altered. Co-transfection of RGS2, RGS3, RGS4, RGS5 and RGS16 into CHO-Flp-In cells stably expressing the S1P1 or S1P3 receptor did not modify S1P-induced inhibition of cAMP accumulation to a major extent. Similar results were obtained with SEW2871, a selective S1P1 receptor agonist. However, the inhibition of cAMP accumulation by the agonist FTY720-P via the S1P1 receptor was significantly decreased by co-transfection with RGS5. These results indicate that mRNA of the S1P1 receptor, RGS4, RGS5 and RGS16 is differentially regulated during phenotypic modulation. However, major alterations in RGS protein expression have only limited effect on S1P receptor function.

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