Several independent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have indicated that calcium (Ca2+) voltage-gated channel auxiliary subunit beta 2 (CACNB2) an L-type Ca2+ channel (LTCC) associated protein has strong association with hypertension. However, the molecular mechanism of CACNB2 and its role in the pathophysiology of hypertension is not clear. To address this knowledge gap, we utilized in vitro and in vivo approaches using HEK293 cells and genetically hypertensive, Dahl Salt-Sensitive (SS) rats. We demonstrated that CACNB2 over-expression in HEK293 cells triggers cell proliferation via an up-regulation of the RAS-MAPK pathway compared to non-transfected cells. These effects were likely independent of LTCC activity as treatment with nifedipine, a well-known LTCC blocker, in CACNB2 overexpressing cells failed to inhibit the RAS-MAPK pathway gene expressions or show an effect on apoptosis marker gene expression. Furthermore, the expression level of CACNB2 was up-regulated in the high salt (HS) diet fed SS rat kidneys compared to low salt diet (LS) fed group. Similar to our in vitro observation the RAS-MAPK mRNA levels were increased in HS fed SS rat kidneys, compared to LS fed group. Collectively, our data suggest that CACNB2 is associated with the increase in RAS-MAPK gene expressions and lead us to speculate that in addition to its role in regulating LTCC α1-subunit trafficking, CACNB2 might lead to aberrant RAS activation, which is one of the key cascade associated with hypertension.
Keywords: CACNB2; Dahl SS rat; L-type calcium channel; RAS–MAPK.
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