The small GTPase RhoB regulates TNFa signaling in endothelial cells

Kroon J, Tol S, van Amstel S, Elias JA, Fernandez-Borja M
Source: PLoS ONE
Publication Date: (2013)
Issue: 8(9): e75031
Research Area:
Cells used in publication:
Endothelial, umbilical vein, human (HUVEC)
Species: human
Tissue Origin: vein
The inflammatory response of endothelial cells triggered by cytokines such as TNFa and IL1ß plays a pivotal role in innate immunity. Upon pro-inflammatory cytokine stimulation, endothelial cells produce chemokines and cytokines that attract and activate leukocytes, and express high levels of leukocyte adhesion molecules. This process is mediated by intracellular signaling cascades triggered by activation of e.g. the TNFa receptor (TNFR) that lead to the activation of the NF?B transcription factor and of MAP kinases, which in turn activate inflammatory gene transcription. We found that the small GTPase RhoB was strongly and rapidly upregulated in primary human endothelial cells by TNFa, IL1ß and LPS. We subsequently investigated the role of RhoB in the regulation of TNFR signaling in endothelial cells by silencing RhoB expression with siRNA. We provide evidence that the TNFa-induced activation of p38 MAP kinase is strongly dependent on RhoB, but not on RhoA, while JNK activation is regulated by both RhoB and RhoA. Consistent with the important role of p38 MAP kinase in inflammation, we demonstrate that loss of RhoB impairs TNFa-induced ICAM-1 expression and reduces cell production of IL6 and IL8. In addition, we show that RhoB silencing alters the intracellular traffic of TNFa after endocytosis. Since RhoB is a known regulator of the intracellular traffic of membrane receptors, our data suggest that RhoB controls TNFa signaling through the regulation of the TNFR traffic.