SENCR stabilizes vascular endothelial cell adherens junctions through interaction with CKAP4

Qing Lyu, Suowen Xu, Yuyan Lyu, Mihyun Choi, Christine K. Christie, Orazio J. Slivano, Arshad Rahman, Zheng Gen Jin, Xiaochun Long, Yawei Xu, Joseph M. Miano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


SENCR is a human-specific, vascular cell-enriched long-noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that regulates vascular smooth muscle cell and endothelial cell (EC) phenotypes. The underlying mechanisms of action of SENCR in these and other cell types is unknown. Here, levels of SENCR RNA are shown to be elevated in several differentiated human EC lineages subjected to laminar shear stress. Increases in SENCR RNA are also observed in the laminar shear stress region of the adult aorta of humanized SENCR-expressing mice, but not in disturbed shear stress regions. SENCR loss-of-function studies disclose perturbations in EC membrane integrity resulting in increased EC permeability. Biotinylated RNA pull-down and mass spectrometry establish an abundant SENCR-binding protein, cytoskeletal-associated protein 4 (CKAP4); this ribonucleoprotein complex was further confirmed in an RNA immunoprecipitation experiment using an antibody to CKAP4. Structure–function studies demonstrate a noncanonical RNA-binding domain in CKAP4 that binds SENCR. Upon SENCR knockdown, increasing levels of CKAP4 protein are detected in the EC surface fraction. Furthermore, an interaction between CKAP4 and CDH5 is enhanced in SENCR-depleted EC. This heightened association appears to destabilize the CDH5/CTNND1 complex and augment CDH5 internalization, resulting in impaired adherens junctions. These findings support SENCR as a flow-responsive lncRNA that promotes EC adherens junction integrity through physical association with CKAP4, thereby stabilizing cell membrane-bound CDH5.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)546-555
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 8 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Adherens junction
  • Endothelial cell
  • Long-noncoding RNA
  • Shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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