Protein disulfide isomerase modification and inhibition contribute to ER stress and apoptosis induced by oxidized low density lipoproteins

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Mar 1;18(7):731-42. doi: 10.1089/ars.2012.4577. Epub 2012 Dec 21.


Aims: Protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) is an abundant endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-resident chaperone and oxidoreductase that catalyzes formation and rearrangement (isomerization) of disulfide bonds, thereby participating in protein folding. PDI modification by nitrosative stress is known to increase protein misfolding, ER stress, and neuronal apoptosis. As LDL oxidation and ER stress may play a role in atherogenesis, this work was designed to investigate whether PDI was inactivated by oxLDLs, thereby participating in oxLDL-induced ER stress and apoptosis.

Results: Preincubation of human endothelial HMEC-1 and of macrophagic U937 cells with toxic concentration of oxLDLs induced PDI inhibition and modification, as assessed by 4-HNE-PDI adducts formation. PDI inhibition by bacitracin potentiated ER stress (increased mRNA expression of CHOP and sXBP1) and apoptosis induced by oxLDLs. In contrast, increased PDI activity by overexpression of an active wild-type PDI was associated with reduced oxLDL-induced ER stress and toxicity, whereas the overexpression of a mutant inactive form was not protective. These effects on PDI were mimicked by exogenous 4-HNE and prevented by the carbonyl-scavengers N-acetylcysteine and pyridoxamine, which reduced CHOP expression and toxicity by oxLDLs. Interestingly, 4-HNE-modified PDI was detected in the lipid-rich areas of human advanced atherosclerotic lesions. Innovation and

Conclusions: PDI modification by oxLDLs or by reactive carbonyls inhibits its enzymatic activity and potentiates both ER stress and apoptosis by oxLDLs. PDI modification by lipid peroxidation products in atherosclerotic lesions suggests that a loss of function of PDI may occur in vivo, and may contribute to local ER stress, apoptosis, and plaque progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / drug effects*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / enzymology
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / pathology
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / metabolism
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / pharmacology*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Protein Disulfide-Isomerases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Protein Disulfide-Isomerases / metabolism*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • U937 Cells


  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • oxidized low density lipoprotein
  • Protein Disulfide-Isomerases