A GTPase-activating protein– binding protein (G3BP1)/antiviral protein relay conveys arteriosclerotic Wnt signals in aortic smooth muscle cells

Bindu Ramachandran, John N. Stabley, Su Li Cheng, Abraham S. Behrmann, Austin Gay, Li Li, Megan Mead, Julia Kozlitina, Andrew Lemoff, Hamid Mirzaei, Zhijian Chen, Dwight A. Towler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


In aortic vascular smooth muscle (VSM), the canonical Wnt receptor LRP6 inhibits protein arginine (Arg) methylation, a new component of noncanonical Wnt signaling that stimulates nuclear factor of activated T cells (viz. NFATc4). To better understand how methylation mediates these actions, MS was performed on VSM cell extracts from control and LRP6-defi-cient mice. LRP6-dependent Arg methylation was regulated on >500 proteins; only 21 exhibited increased monomethylation (MMA) with concomitant reductions in dimethylation. G3BP1, a known regulator of arteriosclerosis, exhibited a >30-fold increase in MMA in its C-terminal domain. Co-transfection studies confirm that G3BP1 (G3BP is Ras-GAP SH3 domain–binding protein) methylation is inhibited by LRP6 and that G3BP1 stimulates NFATc4 transcription. NFATc4 association with VSM osteopontin (OPN) and alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) chromatin was increased with LRP6 deficiency and reduced with G3BP1 deficiency. G3BP1 activation of NFATc4 mapped to G3BP1 domains supporting interactions with RIG-I (retinoic acid inducible gene I), a stimulus for mitochondrial antiviral signaling (MAVS) that drives cardiovascular calcification in humans when mutated in Singleton-Merten syndrome (SGMRT2). Gain-of-function SGMRT2/RIG-I mutants increased G3BP1 methylation and synergized with osteogenic transcription factors (Runx2 and NFATc4). A chemical antagonist of G3BP, C108 (C108 is 2-hydroxybenzoic acid, 2-[1-(2-hydroxyphenyl) ethylidene]hydrazide CAS 15533-09-2), down-regulated RIG-I–stimulated G3BP1 methylation, Wnt/NFAT signaling, VSM TNAP activity, and calcification. G3BP1 deficiency reduced RIG-I protein levels and VSM osteogenic programs. Like G3BP1 and RIG-I deficiency, MAVS deficiency reduced VSM osteogenic signals, including TNAP activity and Wnt5-dependent nuclear NFATc4 levels. Aortic calcium accumulation is decreased in MAVS-deficient LDLR/ mice fed arteriosclerotic diets. The G3BP1/RIG-I/MAVS relay is a component of Wnt signaling. Targeting this relay may help mitigate arteriosclerosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7942-7968
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 25 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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