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  • Recent evidence indicates that prolonged vasoconstriction of

    2021-10-12

    Recent evidence indicates that prolonged vasoconstriction of conductance and resistance arteries involves VSMCs PHA 543613 hydrochloride receptor polymerization, through activation of small GTPases [4] and a subsequently transition to a more solid rheology [5]. Actin polymerization occurs in two steps, nucleation and elongation. Nucleation occurs when three actin monomers bind together and provide a site for elongation. Elongation occurs when ATP-bound globular (G)-actin binds and grows to form filamentous (F)-actin [2]. For both mechano-transduction pathway and agonist-induced changes in actin polymerization, the RhoA-CdC42 pathway has been reported to be involved [6,7]. Interestingly, actin organization has also been observed to be important for the function of l-type calcium channels (Cav 1.2). Accordingly, disruption of actin polymerization by cytochalasin D dramatically decreased Cav 1.2 current in VSMCs [8]. In an elegant study performed by Drs. Cole and Walsh’s group [7], it was observed that PKC-evoked actin polymerization also contributes to the myogenic response of skeletal muscle resistance arteries. Actin polymerization and myosin phosphorylation are independent events [3], but both actin filament formation and myosin phosphorylation are required for smooth muscle contraction [3]. Innate immune cell movement is coordinated spatially as well as temporally by mechanical changes in the cytoskeleton which results in actin polymerization [9]. One of the most powerful signaling pathways that induces actin polymerization and neutrophil movement is mediated by formyl peptide receptor (FPR-1) activation [10,11]. Stimulation of FPR-1 in neutrophils causes polymerization of actin within 10 s. In contrast to the cytokine IL-8 receptor, FPR-1 activation also triggers Ca2+ influx in neutrophil [10]. The FPR family was originally identified by its ability to bind N-formyl peptides such as N-formylmethionine, produced by bacterial degradation [11]. Interestingly, mitochondria carry hallmarks of their bacterial ancestry and one of these hallmarks is that these organelles use an N-formyl-methionyl-tRNA as an initiator of protein synthesis [11,12]. Consequently, both mitochondrial and bacterial-produced peptides have a formyl group at their N-terminus. N-formyl peptides, regardless of origin, are recognized by FPR-1 as pathogens and thus play a role in the initiation of inflammation. Any injury that causes cell lysis in vivo leads to release of damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPS), including mitochondrial N-formyl peptides (F-MITs). Our group was the first to observe that F-MITs were increased in trauma patients and in animals that underwent sterile trauma, and these peptides were able to activate FPR-1 leading to cardiovascular collapse [12,13]. More recently, we also observed that FPR-1 is not only expressed in sentinel cells (cells that are important for the host defense, such as leukocytes), but also in endothelial cells and VSMCs, as well as airways (trachea, bronchus and bronchiole). Functionally, activation of FPR-1 in vitro induced a slow and sustained contraction in a concentration-dependent manner in airways and vascular leakage in arteries from naïve rats [12,13]. Systemic FPR-1 activation leads to sepsis-like symptoms, including lung inflammation and formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) in the lungs [13]. Therefore, based on this previous knowledge, in the present study we wanted to understand the role of FPR-1 in VSMCs. We questioned why a receptor that is crucial for immune defense, and cell motility in leukocytes, would be expressed and functional in VSMCs? We hypothesized that activation of FPR-1 in arteries is important for the temporal reorganization of actin, and consequently, changes in vascular function, similar to what is observed in neutrophils. We observed that F-MITs rapidly induce actin polymerization via FPR-1 activation in VSMCs. On the other hand, the absence of FPR-1 in the vasculature of knockout mice significantly decreased vascular contraction and induced loss of myogenic tone to elevated intraluminal pressures. The use of a potent inducer of actin polymerization ameliorated these responses. Therefore, we have established a novel role for FPR-1 in VSMCs contractility and motility, similar to the one observed in sentinel cells of the innate immune system, such as neutrophils. This discovery is fundamental for vascular immuno-pathophysiology, given that FPR-1 in VSMCs not only functions as an immune system receptor and danger signal sensor by detecting foreign pathogens and DAMPs in the bloodstream [12,13], but it also has an important role for the dynamic plasticity of arteries.