Dependence of Golgi apparatus integrity on nitric oxide in vascular cells: implications in pulmonary arterial hypertension

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 Apr;300(4):H1141-58. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00767.2010. Epub 2011 Jan 7.


Although reduced bioavailability of nitric oxide (NO) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), its consequences on organellar structure and function within vascular cells is largely unexplored. We investigated the effect of reduced NO on the structure of the Golgi apparatus as assayed by giantin or GM130 immunofluorescence in human pulmonary arterial endothelial (HPAECs) and smooth muscle (HPASMCs) cells, bovine PAECs, and human EA.hy926 endothelial cells. Golgi structure was also investigated in cells in tissue sections of pulmonary vascular lesions in idiopathic PAH (IPAH) and in macaques infected with a chimeric simian immunodeficiency virus containing the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-nef gene (SHIV-nef) with subcellular three-dimensional (3D) immunoimaging. Compounds with NO scavenging activity including 2-(4-carboxyphenyl)-4,4,5,5-tetramethylimidazoline-1-oxyl-3-oxide (c-PTIO), methylene blue, N-acetylcysteine, and hemoglobin markedly fragmented the Golgi in all cell types evaluated as did monocrotaline pyrrole, while LY-83583, sildenafil, fasudil, Y-27632, Tiron, Tempol, or H(2)O(2) did not. Golgi fragmentation by NO scavengers was inhibited by diethylamine NONOate, was evident in HPAECs after selective knockdown of endothelial nitric oxide synthase using small interfering RNA (siRNA), was independent of microtubule organization, required the GTPase dynamin 2, and was accompanied by depletion of α-soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor (NSF) acceptor protein (α-SNAP) from Golgi membranes and codispersal of the SNAP receptor (SNARE) Vti1a with giantin. Golgi fragmentation was confirmed in endothelial and smooth muscle cells in pulmonary arterial lesions in IPAH and the SHIV-nef-infected macaque with subcellular 3D immunoimaging. In SHIV-nef-infected macaques Golgi fragmentation was observed in cells containing HIV-nef-bearing endosomes. The observed Golgi fragmentation suggests that NO plays a significant role in modulating global protein trafficking patterns that contribute to changes in the cell surface landscape and functional signaling in vascular cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Familial Primary Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Free Radical Scavengers / metabolism
  • Golgi Apparatus / drug effects
  • Golgi Apparatus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / metabolism
  • Hypertension, Pulmonary / physiopathology
  • Macaca / metabolism
  • Macaca / physiology
  • Macaca / virology
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Artery / drug effects
  • Pulmonary Artery / metabolism
  • Pulmonary Artery / physiopathology
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / genetics
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / physiopathology
  • nef Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus / genetics


  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • nef Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III