Oxidative Stress Causes Mineralocorticoid Receptor Activation in Rat Cardiomyocytes
Role of Small GTPase Rac1
Overactivation of the mineralocorticoid receptor signaling is implicated in cardiovascular disease, including hypertensive heart disease. Oxidative stress is suggested to augment mineralocorticoid receptor signal transduction, but the precise mechanisms remain unclear. Mineralocorticoid receptor activity is regulated by multiple factors, in addition to plasma ligand levels. We previously identified Rac1 GTPase as a modulator of mineralocorticoid receptor activity. Here we show that oxidative stress induces mineralocorticoid receptor activation in a ligand-independent, Rac1-depenent manner in cardiomyocytes. Oxidant stress was induced in rat cultured cardiomyocytes (H9c2) by l-buthionine sulfoximine (BSO), an inhibitor of glutathione synthesis. BSO depleted intracellular glutathione and concomitantly increased reactive oxygen species (199%; P<0.01). BSO significantly enhanced the corticosterone-induced, mineralocorticoid receptor–dependent luciferase reporter activity (186%; P<0.01) and basal luciferase activity without ligand stimulation. These effects were inhibited by the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine. The ligand independency of BSO action was indicated using a mutant mineralocorticoid receptor that does not bind ligands. With this mutant mineralocorticoid receptor, BSO-evoked mineralocorticoid receptor activation remained intact, whereas ligand-induced mineralocorticoid receptor activation was abolished. We next examined the involvement of Rac1. BSO increased active Rac1 in a redox-dependent fashion, and Rac inhibition suppressed the enhancing effect of BSO. Constitutively active Rac1, indeed, potentiated mineralocorticoid receptor transactivation. Furthermore, mineralocorticoid receptor transactivation by BSO was accompanied by enhanced nuclear accumulation of mineralocorticoid receptor. We conclude that alteration of redox state modulates mineralocorticoid receptor–dependent transcriptional activity via Rac1 in the heart. This redox-sensitive, ligand-independent mineralocorticoid receptor activation may contribute to the processes by which oxidant stress promotes cardiac injury.
- Received October 10, 2011.
- Revision received October 27, 2011.
- Accepted December 9, 2011.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.