BRAP Activates Inflammatory Cascades and Increases the Risk for Carotid Atherosclerosis
The BRCA-1 associated protein gene (BRAP) was recently identified as a susceptibility gene for myocardial infarction (MI). In the present study we aimed to decipher the association between the BRAP polymorphism and carotid atherosclerosis and the mechanism underlying its proatherogenic effect. A total of 1749 stroke/MI-free volunteers received carotid ultrasonic examinations for the measurement of intima-medial thickness (IMT) and plaque. The promoter polymorphism rs11066001 was selected because it affects the transcription of BRAP. We found that the GG genotype was associated with a 1.58-fold increased risk for having at least one plaque compared to carrying the A allele (P = 0.021). When subjects were divided by the cutoff value of IMT above the mean plus 1 standard deviation, there was an overrepresentation of the GG genotype in the subjects with thicker IMT (P = 0.004). The expression of BRAP increased significantly when human aortic smooth muscle cells (HASMCs) were treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). HASMCs were transfected with small interfering RNA against BRAP or scrambled sequences before treatment with LPS. Knockdown of BRAP led to attenuated HASMC proliferation and reduced secretion of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) in response to LPS. Downregulation of BRAP did not affect the protein levels of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB), but prohibited its nuclear translocation. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments confirmed an interaction between BRAP and the two major components of the IKK signalosome, IκBβ and IKKβ. Collectively, BRAP conferred a risk for carotid plaque and IMT. Inflammatory stimuli upregulated BRAP expression, and BRAP activated inflammatory cascades by regulating NF-κB nuclear translocation.
This work was supported by grants from the following organizations: National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan (NHRI-Ex96-9607PI); National Science Council, Taiwan (NSC 97-2314-B-037-019, NSC 98-2314-B-037-048, NSC97-2314-B-037-043-MY2); Kaohsiung Medical University intramural grant (KMUH98-8I11); Kaohsiung Municipal Hsiao-Kang Hospital (KMHKH-96-027); Taichung Veterans General Hospital (TCVGH-983403C and TCVGH-993402C); and the Naito Foundation, Mitsubishi Foundation, and Tokyo Biochemical Research Foundation (Japan).
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