Purpose: Geminin has been correlated with vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) proliferation, but its mechanism is unclear. We selectively silenced the geminin gene of rat VSMCs by using RNAi technology and examined how geminin regulated VSMC proliferation.
Methods: By using RNA interference in A10 cells and flow cytometry, (3)H-thymidine and 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine (EdU) measurements were used to detect VSMC proliferation. We performed a Western blot, polymerase chain reaction, and immunohistochemistry to detect the expression and location of geminin and cyclin-dependent kinase-1 (CDK1) in VSMCs.
Results: Silencing geminin significantly increased (3)H-thymidine and EdU incorporation in VSMCs. We observed a significant increase in (3)H-thymidine incorporation 24 h after a serum challenge in the geminin-RNAi-lentiviral vector group (4401.38 ± 438.39 cpm/mg), versus the non-targeting geminin-lentiviral vector (2836.88 ± 476.18 cpm/mg) and control groups (3069.50 ± 508.18 cpm/mg; P < 0.05). In the geminin-RNAi-lentiviral vector group, the EdU-positive cell rate was significantly increased (0.75 ± 0.03; P < 0.05), versus the non-targeting geminin-lentiviral vector (0.41 ± 0.0) or control group (0.40 ± 0.03). Geminin promoted VSMC proliferation, accelerating G0/G1-S cell-cycle progression (G0/G1 cells, 10 % decrease; S-phase cells, approximate 6 % increase) 12 h after serum withdrawal. Both CDK1 protein and mRNA expression were significantly increased in the positive group versus the controls. The immunofluorescence and co-immunoprecipitation results revealed a close interaction existed between CDK1 and the geminin gene in VSMC proliferation.
Conclusions: Geminin gene inhibition could augment VSMC proliferation by increasing CDK1 expression; thus, geminin may be a potential target for treating vascular diseases, specifically VSMCs.