USP20 (Ubiquitin-Specific Protease 20) Inhibits TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor)-Triggered Smooth Muscle Cell Inflammation and Attenuates Atherosclerosis.
Objective- Signaling that activates NFκB (nuclear factor κB) in smooth muscle cells (SMCs) is integral to atherosclerosis and involves reversible ubiquitination that activates proteins downstream of proatherogenic receptors. Deubiquitination of these proteins is mediated by USP20 (ubiquitin-specific protease 20), among other deubiquitinases. We sought to determine whether USP20 activity in SMCs decreases atherosclerosis. Approach and Results- To address this question, we used male Ldlr-/- mice without (control) or with SMC-specific expression of murine USP20 (SMC-USP20-transgenic) or its dominant-negative (DN; C154S/H643Q) mutant (SMC-DN-USP20-transgenic). Before the appearance of intimal macrophages, NFκB activation in aortic medial SMCs was greater in SMC-DN-USP20-transgenic than in control mice. After 16 weeks on a Western diet, SMC-DN-USP20-transgenic mice had 46% greater brachiocephalic artery atheroma area than control mice. Congruently, aortic atherosclerosis assessed en face was 21% greater than control in SMC-DN-USP20-transgenic mice and 13% less than control in SMC-USP20-transgenic mice. In response to TNF (tumor necrosis factor), SMCs from SMC-DN-USP20-transgenic mice showed ≈3-fold greater NFκB activation than control SMCs. Silencing USP20 in SMCs with siRNA (small interfering RNA) augmented NFκB activation by ≈50% in response to either TNF or IL-1β (interleukin-1β). Coimmunoprecipitation experiments revealed that USP20 associates with several components of the TNFR1 (TNF receptor-1) signaling pathway, including RIPK1 (receptor-interacting protein kinase 1), a critical checkpoint in TNF-induced NFκB activation and inflammation. TNF evoked ≈2-fold more RIPK1 ubiquitination in SMC-DN-USP20-transgenic than in control SMCs, and RIPK1 was deubiquitinated by purified USP20 in vitro. Conclusions- USP20 attenuates TNF- and IL-1β-evoked atherogenic signaling in SMCs, by deubiquitinating RIPK1, among other signaling intermediates.
Jean-Charles, P-Y; Wu, J-H; Zhang, L; Kaur, S; Nepliouev, I; Stiber, JA; Brian, L; Qi, R; Wertman, V; Shenoy, SK; Freedman, NJ
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