RNA-binding properties of nucleolin play a fundamental role in regulating cell growth and proliferation. We have previously shown that nucleolin plays an important regulatory role in the phenotypic transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) induced by angiotensin II (Ang II). In the present study, we aimed to investigate the molecular mechanism of nucleolin-mediated phenotypic transformation of VSMCs induced by Ang II. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) inhibitors were used to observe the effect of Ang II on phenotypic transformation of VSMCs. The regulatory role of nucleolin in the phenotypic transformation of VSMCs was identified by nucleolin gene mutation, gene overexpression and RNA interference technology. Moreover, we elucidated the molecular mechanism underlying the regulatory effect of nucleolin on phenotypic transformation of VSMCs. EGF and PDGF-BB played an important role in the phenotypic transformation of VSMCs induced by Ang II. Nucleolin exerted a positive regulatory effect on the expression and secretion of EGF and PDGF-BB. In addition, nucleolin could bind to the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of EGF and PDGF-BB mRNA, and such binding up-regulated the stability and expression of EGF and PDGF-BB mRNA, promoting Ang II-induced phenotypic transformation of VSMCs.
Keywords: EGF; PDGF-BB; angiotensin II; nucleolin; phenotypic transformation; vascular smooth muscle cells.
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