Exposure to various combinations of cytokines and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) has been reported to increase NO production in vascular endothelial cells. The molecular entity of the newly expressed nitric oxide synthase (NOS) in endothelial cells, however, has not yet been examined in detail. In this report, we carried out biochemical characterizations and molecular identification of NOS isoform(s) expressed in cytokine/LPS-treated bovine aortic endothelial cells (BAEC). The increased NOS activity in tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)/LPS-treated BAEC was localized mainly in the cytosolic fraction and Ca2+-independent, whereas that in interferon-α,β(IFN-α,β)/LPS-treated BAEC was preferentially in the membrane fraction and Ca2+-dependent, suggesting that TNF-α/LPS increased an inducible NOS (iNOS)-like activity, and IFN-α,β/LPS increased an endothelial constitutive NOS (ecNOS)-like activity. Correspondingly, the different responses to the cytokine/LPS pretreatment were demonstrated in semi-quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) using primers specific for iNOS or ecNOS, that is, TNF-α/LPS elicited the expression of NOS mRNA whereas IFN-α,β/LPS increased that of ecNOS mRNA. A nuclear run-on transcription assay and an inhibition experiment by actinomycin D indicated that the apparent increase of ecNOS in the IFN-α,β/LPS-treated BAEC was at least in part ascribed to the transcriptional activation. The nucleotide sequences of the amplified PCR products in TNF-α/LPS- and IFN-α,β/LPS-treated BAEC were 93% and 99% identical to the corresponding regions of human hepatocyte iNOS and bovine ecNOS, respectively. These findings indicated that, in cytokine/LPS-treated BAEC, two NOS isoforms whose molecular natures were closely homologous to the conventional isoforms of iNOS and ecNOS were differently induced in response to distinct inflammatory stimuli.
Kaku, Y., Nanri, H., Sakimura, T., Ejima, K., Kuroiwa, A., & Ikeda, M. (1997). Differential induction of constitutive and inducible nitric oxide synthases by distinct inflammatory stimuli in bovine aortic endothelial cells. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research, 1356(1), 43–52. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0167-4889(96)00156-5