A functional study of ADAMTS7 gene variants.
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Background: Recent studies have revealed an association between genetic variants at the ADAMTS7 (a disintegrin-like and metalloprotease with thrombospondin type 1 motif, 7) locus and susceptibility to coronary artery disease (CAD). ADAMTS-7 has been reported to facilitate vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) migration and promote neointima formation. We sought to study the functional mechanisms underlying this relationship and to further investigate the role of ADAMTS-7 in atherosclerosis. Methods and Results: In vitro assays showed that the CAD-associated non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism rs3825807, which results in a serine to proline (Ser-to- Pro) substitution at residue 214 in the ADAMTS-7 pro-domain, affected ADAMTS-7 prodomain cleavage. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that ADAMTS-7 localised to vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs) in human coronary and carotid atherosclerotic plaques. Cell migration assays demonstrated that VSMCs and ECs from individuals who were homozygous for the adenine (A) allele (encoding the Ser214 isoform) had increased migratory ability compared with cells from individuals who were homozygous for the G allele (encoding the Pro214 isoform). Western blot analyses revealed that media conditioned by VSMCs of the A/A genotype contained more cleaved ADAMTS-7 pro-domain and more of the cleaved form of thrombospondin-5 (TSP-5, an ADAMTS-7 substrate that had been shown to be produced by VSMCs and inhibit VSMC migration). In in vitro angiogenesis assays, ECs of the A/A genotype exhibited increased capillary-like network formation. ADAMTS-7 over-expression in ECs by transfection of an ADAMTS7-214Ser expressing plasmid significantly accelerated EC migration and in vitro angiogenesis, whereas ADAMTS-7 knockdown by shRNA had opposite effects. Preliminary proteomics analyses of conditioned media of ECs overexpressing ADAMTS-7 and ECs with ADAMTS-7 knockdown indicated that ADAMTS- 7 can cleave thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), a well-recognised angiogenesis inhibitor. Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that rs3825807 has a functional effect on ADAMTS-7 maturation, TSP-5 cleavage, VSMC and EC migration, and angiogenesis. As VSMC migration and angiogenesis play important roles in atherosclerosis, these results provide a mechanistic explanation for the association between rs3825807 and CAD.
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