FK506 binding protein 12/12.6 depletion increases endothelial nitric oxide synthase threonine 495 phosphorylation and blood pressure.
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Chronic treatment with the immunosuppressive drug rapamycin leads to hypertension; however, the mechanisms are unknown. Rapamycin binds FK506 binding protein 12 and its related isoform 12.6 (FKBP12/12.6) and displaces them from intracellular Ca2+ release channels (ryanodine receptors) eliciting a Ca2+ leak from the endoplasmic/sarcoplasmic reticulum. We tested whether this Ca2+ leak promotes conventional protein kinase C-mediated endothelial NO synthase phosphorylation at Thr495, which reduces production of the vasodilator NO. Rapamycin treatment of control mice for 7 days, as well as genetic deletion of FKBP12.6, increased systolic arterial pressure significantly compared with controls. Untreated aortas from FKBP12.6-/- mice and in vitro rapamycin-treated control aortas had similarly decreased endothelium-dependent relaxation responses and NO production and increased endothelial NO synthase Thr495 phosphorylation and protein kinase C activity. Inhibition of either conventional protein kinase C or ryanodine receptor restored endothelial NO synthase Thr495 phosphorylation and endothelial function to control levels. Rapamycin induced a small increase in basal intracellular Ca2+ levels in isolated endothelial cells, and rapamycin or FKBP12.6 gene deletion decreased acetylcholine-induced intracellular Ca2+ release, all of which were reversed by ryanodine. These data demonstrate that displacement of FKBP12/12.6 from ryanodine receptors induces an endothelial intracellular Ca2+ leak and increases conventional protein kinase C-mediated endothelial NO synthase Thr495 phosphorylation leading to decreased NO production and endothelial dysfunction. This molecular mechanism may, in part, explain rapamycin-induced hypertension.