Author(s): Tong Y, Tiplitsky SI, Tar M, Melman A, Davies KP
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Abstract PURPOSE: Several reports suggest that the rat Vcsa1 gene is down-regulated in models of erectile dysfunction. The Vcsa protein product sialorphin is an endogenous neutral endopeptidase inhibitor and its down-regulation could result in prolonged activation of G-protein activated signaling pathways by their peptide agonists. We investigated whether Vcsa1 down-regulation could result in an adaptive change in GPCR (G-protein coupled receptor) expression. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Gene expression in cultured rat corporeal smooth muscle cells following treatment with siRNA directed against Vcsa1 or the neutral endopeptidase gene was analyzed using microarray and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. In rats Vcsa1 is one of the most down-regulated genes following bilateral transection of the cavernous nerves. In that animal model we also investigated whether Vcsa1 down-regulation was accompanied by similar changes in gene expression in corporeal smooth muscle cells in which Vcsa1 was knocked down in vitro. RESULTS: Microarray analysis and quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction demonstrated that corporeal smooth muscle cells treated in vitro with siRNA against Vcsa1 resulted in GPCR up-regulation as a functional group. In contrast, treatment of corporeal smooth muscle cells that lowered neutral endopeptidase activity resulted in decreased GPCR expression. These results suggest that the peptide product of Vcsa1, sialorphin, can effect GPCR expression by acting on neutral endopeptidase. In animals with bilaterally transected cavernous nerves the decreased Vcsa1 expression is accompanied by increased GPCR expression in cavernous tissue. CONCLUSIONS: These experiments suggest that the mechanism by which Vcsa1 modulates erectile function is partly mediated through changes in GPCR expression.
This article was published in J Urol
and referenced in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry