Activation of G protein-coupled estrogen receptor 1 induces coronary artery relaxation via Epac/Rap1-mediated inhibition of RhoA/Rho kinase pathway in parallel with PKA.
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Previously, we reported that cAMP/PKA signaling is involved in GPER-mediated coronary relaxation by activating MLCP via inhibition of RhoA pathway. In the current study, we tested the hypothesis that activation of GPER induces coronary artery relaxation via inhibition of RhoA/Rho kinase pathway by cAMP downstream targets, exchange proteins directly activated by cAMP (Epac) as well as PKA. Our results show that Epac inhibitors, brefeldin A (BFA, 50 M), or ESI-09 (20 M), or CE3F4 (100 M), all partially inhibited porcine coronary artery relaxation response to the selective GPER agonist, G-1 (0.3-3 M); while concurrent administration of BFA and PKI (5 M), a PKA inhibitor, almost completely blocked the relaxation effect of G-1. The Epac specific agonist, 8-CPT-2Me-cAMP (007, 1-100 M), induced a concentration-dependent relaxation response. Furthermore, the activity of Ras-related protein 1 (Rap1) was up regulated by G-1 (1 M) treatment of porcine coronary artery smooth muscle cells (CASMCs). Phosphorylation of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (p-VASP) was elevated by G-1 (1 M) treatment, but not by 007 (50 M); and the effect of G-1 on p-VASP was blocked by PKI, but not by ESI-09, an Epac antagonist. RhoA activity was similarly down regulated by G-1 and 007, whereas ESI-09 restored most of the reduced RhoA activity by G-1 treatment. Furthermore, G-1 decreased PGF2-induced p-MYPT1, which was partially reversed with either ESI-09 or PKI; whereas, concurrent administration of ESI-09 and PKI totally prevented the inhibitory effect of G-1. The inhibitory effects of G-1 on p- MLC levels in CASMCs were mostly restored by either ESI-09 or PKI. These results demonstrate that activation of GPER induces coronary artery relaxation via concurrent inhibition of RhoA/Rho kinase by Epac/Rap1 and PKA. GPER could be a potential drug target for preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases.