Phosphotase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) is a potent negative regulator of PI3K/Akt pathway. Here, we tried to elucidate the role of PTEN in the regulation of endothelial adhesion molecules, vascular cell adhesion molecule (VCAM)-1 and intracellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-1, induced by TNF-α in human endothelial cells (ECs). Transfection with PTEN overexpressing vector resulted in the significant decrease in phosphorylation of Akt in TNF-α-treated ECs. PTEN strongly inhibited VCAM-1 but not ICAM-1, however this inhibitory effect was reversed by co-transfection with constitutively active-Akt (CA-Akt-HA) in TNF-α-stimulated ECs. Additionally, silencing of PTEN with specific siRNA showed significant increase of phosphor-Akt compared with TNF-α alone treated ECs. siPTEN significantly upregulated VCAM-1 but was indifferent to ICAM-1 in TNF-α-treated cells. Further, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay showed that PTEN targets GATA-6 but not IRF-1 binding to VCAM-1 promoter. In addition, GATA-6 is associated with glycogen synthesis kinase-3beta (GSK-3β) which is in turn regulated by PTEN-dependent Akt activity. Finally, PTEN significantly prevented monocyte adhesion to TNF-α-induced ECs probably through VCAM-1 regulation. It is concluded that PTEN selectively inhibits expression of VCAM-1 but not ICAM-1 through modulation of PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β/GATA-6 signaling cascade in TNF-α-treated ECs.
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