Dynamic association of nitric oxide downstream signaling molecules with endothelial Caveolin-1 in rat aorta

A. Elizabeth Linder, Lynnette P. McCluskey, Kenneth R. Cole, Katherine M. Lanning, R. Clinton Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Classically, nitric oxide (NO) formed by endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) freely diffuses from its generation site to smooth muscle cells where it activates soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC), producing cGMP. Subsequently, cGMP activates both cGMP-and cAMP-dependent protein kinases [cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), respectively], leading to smooth muscle relaxation. In endothelial cells, eNOS has been localized to caveolae, small invaginations of the plasma membrane rich in cholesterol. Membrane cholesterol depletion impairs acetylcholine (ACh)-induced relaxation due to alteration in caveolar structure. Given the nature of NO to be more soluble in a hydrophobic environment than in water, and assuming that colocalization of components in a signal transduction cascade seems to be a critical determinant of signaling efficiency by eNOS activation, we hypothesize that sGC, PKA, and PKG activation may occur at the plasma membrane caveolae. In endothelium-intact rat aortic rings, the relaxation induced by ACh, by the sGC activator 3-(5′-hydroxymethyl-2′furyl)-1-benzyl indazole (YC-1), and by 8-bromo-cGMP was impaired in the presence of methyl-β-cyclodextrin, a drug that disassembles caveolae by sequestering cholesterol from the membrane. sGC, PKG, and PKA were colocalized with caveolin-1 in aortic endothelium, and this colocalization was abolished by methyl-β-cyclodextrin. Methyl-β-cyclodextrin efficiently disassembled caveolae in endothelium. In summary, our results provide evidence of compartmentalization of sGC, PKG, and PKA in endothelial caveolae contributing to NO signaling cascade, giving new insights by which the endothelium mediates vascular smooth muscle relaxation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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