Cigarette smoke-induced alterations in endothelial nitric oxide synthase phosphorylation: role of protein kinase C

Endothelium. Jul-Oct 2007;14(4-5):245-55. doi: 10.1080/10623320701606707.


Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) is regulated by phosphorylation of Ser(1177) and Thr(495), which affects NO bioavailability. Cigarette smoke disturbs the eNOS-cGMP-NO pathway and causes decreased NO production. Here the authors investigated the acute effects of cigarette smoke on eNOS phosphorylation, focusing on protein kinases (PKs). Endothelial cell culture was concentration- and time-dependently treated first with cigarette smoke buffer (CSB), then with reduced glutathione (GSH) or various PK inhibitors (H-89, LY-294002, Ro-318425, and ruboxistaurin). eNOS, phospho-Ser(1177)-eNOS, phospho-Thr(495)-eNOS, Akt(PKB), and phospho-Akt protein levels were determined by Western blot. CSB increased the phosphorylation of eNOS at Ser(1177) and more at Thr(495) in a concentration- and time-dependent manner (p < .01, p < .05 versus control, respectively) and resulted in the dissociation of the active dimeric form of eNOS (p < .05). GSH decreased the phosphorylation of eNOS at both sites (p < .05 versus CSB without GSH) and prevented the decrease of dimer eNOS level. CSB treatment also decreased the level of phospho-Ser(473)-Akt (p < .05 versus control). Inhibition of PKA by H-89 did not affect CSB-induced phosphorylation, whereas the PKB inhibitor LY-294002 enhanced it at Ser(1117). The PKC blockers Ro-318425 and ruboxistaurin augmented the CSB-induced phosphorylation at Ser(1177) but decreased phosphorylation at Thr(495) (p < .05 versus CSB). Cigarette smoke causes a disruption of the enzymatically active eNOS dimers and shifts the eNOS phosphorylation to an inhibitory state. Both effects might lead to reduced NO bioavailability. The shift of the eNOS phosphorylation pattern to an inhibitory state seems to be independent of the PKA and phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K)/Akt pathways, whereas PKC appears to play a key role.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Buffers
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dimerization
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endothelial Cells / drug effects
  • Endothelial Cells / enzymology
  • Enzyme Activation / drug effects
  • Glutathione / pharmacology
  • Indoles / pharmacology
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Maleimides / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase C / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Serine / metabolism
  • Smoking*
  • Threonine / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • Buffers
  • Indoles
  • Isoenzymes
  • Maleimides
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Threonine
  • Serine
  • ruboxistaurin
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Glutathione