Heart protein regulates blood vessel maintenance

May 11, 2009

Researchers identify a protein that regulates the physical state of blood vessels. The biochemical processes involved in this regulation are important in the study of cardiovascular health.

In a study led by Akiko Hata, PhD, of Tufts University School of Medicine, researchers have shown that a protein expressed in the heart, FHL2, inhibits the genes necessary for the quiescence of vascular smooth (vSMCs), which line . Vascular smooth muscle cells undergo a process in diseases such as atherosclerosis or normal tissue damage caused by balloon angioplasty where they transition between a resting and proliferative state. The ability to transition between the two states is necessary for the normal development of blood vessels, regulating blood pressure, and repairing vessels that suffer from injury.

"By understanding the pathways that modulate vSMCs, we are closer to being able to develop reagents to ameliorate abnormal function of blood vessels," says Hata, associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and a member of the biochemistry program faculty at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts.

The researchers have previously shown that BMPs (Bone Morphogenetic Proteins) play a role in the maintenance of smooth muscle cells in the pulmonary artery. In this study, the research demonstrates that FHL2 (Four-and-a-Half LIM Domain Protein 2) inhibits activation of genes that are involved in contraction of smooth muscle cells by at least one of the BMPs.

"We also found that FHL2 is important in the regulation of vasomotor tone, or the contraction and relaxation of muscles in the blood vessel. This is important because dysfunction in vasomotor tone is thought to cause high blood pressure. Our study demonstrates that FHL2 is essential in modulating the physical state of vSMCs, which is essential in regulating vascular motor function," says Hata.

More information: Neuman NA, Ma S, Schnitzler GR, Zhu Y, Lagna, G, and Hata A. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2009. (May 8); 284 (19): 13202-13212. "The Four-and-a-half LIM Domain Protein 2 Regulates Vascular Smooth Muscle Phenotype and Vascular Tone." Published online March 5, 2009, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M900282200

Source: Tufts University

Explore further: How blood flow dictates gene expression

Related Stories

How blood flow dictates gene expression

December 20, 2006

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have pinpointed a key regulatory protein that translates blood flow into gene expression. The investigators showed that in a model of mouse embryonic development ...

Protein identified that plays role in blood flow

September 18, 2008

For years, researchers have known that high blood pressure causes blood vessels to contract and low blood pressure causes blood vessels to relax. Until recently, however, researchers did not have the tools to determine the ...

Recommended for you

New polymer creates safer fuels

October 1, 2015

Before embarking on a transcontinental journey, jet airplanes fill up with tens of thousands of gallons of fuel. In the event of a crash, such large quantities of fuel increase the severity of an explosion upon impact. Researchers ...

Researchers print inside gels to create unique shapes

September 30, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers at the University of Florida has taken the technique of printing objects inside of a gel a step further by using a highly shear-rate sensitive gel. In their paper published in the journal ...

How a molecular motor untangles protein

October 1, 2015

A marvelous molecular motor that untangles protein in bacteria may sound interesting, yet perhaps not so important. Until you consider the hallmarks of several neurodegenerative diseases—Huntington's disease has tangled ...

Anti-aging treatment for smart windows

October 1, 2015

Electrochromic windows, so-called 'smart windows', share a well-known problem with rechargeable batteries – their limited lifespan. Researchers at Uppsala University have now worked out an entirely new way to rejuvenate ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.