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Targeting GGTase-I Activates RHOA, Increases Macrophage Reverse Cholesterol Transport, and Reduces Atherosclerosis in Mice

Journal article
Authors Omar M. Khan
Murali K Akula
Kristina Skålen
Christin Karlsson
Marcus Ståhlman
S. G. Young
Jan Borén
Martin Bergö
Published in Circulation
Volume 127
Issue 7
Pages 782-790
ISSN 0009-7322
Publication year 2013
Published at Wallenberg Laboratory
Sahlgrenska Cancer Center
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 782-790
Language en
Subject categories Cardiac and Cardiovascular Systems


Background-Statins have antiinflammatory and antiatherogenic effects that have been attributed to inhibition of RHO protein geranylgeranylation in inflammatory cells. The activity of protein geranylgeranyltransferase type I (GGTase-I) is widely believed to promote membrane association and activation of RHO family proteins. However, we recently showed that knockout of GGTase-I in macrophages activates RHO proteins and proinflammatory signaling pathways, leading to increased cytokine production and rheumatoid arthritis. In this study, we asked whether the increased inflammatory signaling of GGTase-I-deficient macrophages would influence the development of atherosclerosis in low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice. Methods and Results-Aortic lesions in mice lacking GGTase-I in macrophages (Pggt1b Delta/Delta) contained significantly more T lymphocytes than the lesions in controls. Surprisingly, however, mean atherosclerotic lesion area in Pggt1b Delta/Delta mice was reduced by approximate to 60%. GGTase-I deficiency reduced the accumulation of cholesterol esters and phospholipids in macrophages incubated with minimally modified and acetylated low-density lipoprotein. Analyses of GGTase-I-deficient macrophages revealed upregulation of the cyclooxygenase 2-peroxisome proliferator-activated-gamma pathway and increased scavenger receptor class B type I-and CD36-mediated basal and high-density lipoprotein-stimulated cholesterol efflux. Lentivirus-mediated knockdown of RHOA, but not RAC1 or CDC42, normalized cholesterol efflux. The increased cholesterol efflux in cultured cells was accompanied by high levels of macrophage reverse cholesterol transport and slightly reduced plasma lipid levels in vivo. Conclusions-Targeting GGTase-I activates RHOA and leads to increased macrophage reverse cholesterol transport and reduced atherosclerosis development despite a significant increase in inflammation

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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