Year of Publication
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. Dennis Bruemmer
The neuron-derived orphan receptor 1 (NOR1) belongs to the NR4A nuclear receptor subfamily. As an immediate early response gene, NOR1 is rapidly induced by a broad spectrum of physiological and pathological signals. Functional studies demonstrate NOR1 as a constitutively active ligand-independent nuclear receptor whose transcriptional activity is dependent on both expression level and posttranslational modifications. To date, an increasing number of studies have demonstrated a pivotal role of NOR1 in the transcriptional control of metabolism and the development of cardiovascular diseases.
In this dissertation, we demonstrate NOR1 expression in endothelial cells and sub-endothelial cells of human atherosclerotic lesions. In response to inflammatory stimuli, NOR1 expression is rapidly induced in endothelial cells through an NF-κB-dependent signaling pathway. Functional studies reveal that NOR1 increases monocyte adhesion by inducing the expression of adhesion molecules VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 in endothelial cells. Transient transfection and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays identify VCAM-1 as a bona fide NOR1 target gene in endothelial cells. Finally, we demonstrate that NOR1-deficiency reduces hypercholesterolemia-induced atherosclerosis formation in apoE-/- mice by decreasing the macrophage content of the lesion.
In smooth muscle cells (SMC), NOR1 was previously established as a cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) target gene in response to platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) stimulation. CREB phosphorylation and subsequent binding of phosphorylated CREB to the NOR1 promoter play a critical role in inducing NOR1 expression. In this dissertation, we further demonstrate that histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibition potentiates and sustains PDGF-induced NOR1 mRNA and protein expression in SMC. This augmented NOR1 expression is associated with increased phosphorylation of CREB, recruitment of phosphorylated CREB to the NOR1 promoter, and trans-activation of the NOR1 promoter. Additionally, HDAC inhibition also increases NOR1 protein half-life in SMC.
Collectively, these findings identify a novel pathway in endothelial cells underlying monocyte adhesion and expand our knowledge of the epigenetic mechanisms orchestrating NOR1 expression in SMC. Finally, we establish a previously unrecognized atherogenic role of NOR1 in positively regulating monocyte recruitment to the vascular wall.
Zhao, Yue, "THE ROLE OF THE NR4A ORPHAN NUCLEAR RECEPTOR NOR1 IN VASCULAR CELLS AND ATHEROSCLEROSIS" (2011). University of Kentucky Doctoral Dissertations. 141.