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Endophilin-1 regulates blood-brain barrier permeability by controlling ZO-1 and occludin expression via the EGFR-ERK1/2 pathway.

Liu W., Wang P., Shang C., Chen L., Cai H., Ma J., Yao Y., Shang X., Xue Y.

The blood-brain barrier (BBB) plays a pivotal role in maintenance and regulation of the neural microenvironment. Brain endothelial cells (BECs), held together by tight junctions (TJs), have a primary role in restricting the permeability of the BBB. Endophilin-1 is a multifunctional protein that influences epithelial growth factor receptor (EGFR) endocytosis and degradation and plays an important role in regulating the glomerular filtration barrier in the kidney. Endophilin-1 likely plays a similar role in controlling BBB permeability. In this study, we therefore analyzed the expression and function of endophilin-1 in the human BEC line hCMEC/D3. Our results show that endophilin-1 over-expression reduced the expression of the TJ-associated proteins ZO-1 and occludin and increased the paracellular permeability of hCMEC/D3 cells, whereas silencing of endogenous endophilin-1 yielded the opposite results. Over-expression of ZO-1 and occludin prevented the increase in permeability induced by endophilin-1 over-expression, whereas down-regulation of ZO-1 and occludin prevented the reduction in permeability induced by endophilin-1 silencing. Co-localization and co-immunoprecipitation experiments suggested that endophilin-1 interacts with the EGFR. The levels of EGFR and its downstream effector phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (p-ERK1/2) are significantly decreased when endophilin-1 is over-expressed. Conversely, endophilin-1 down-regulation led to markedly increased levels of these proteins. In addition, the reduced permeability induced by endophilin-1 down-regulation was blocked by AG1478 and PD98059, inhibitors of EGFR and ERK1/2, respectively. Up-regulation of ZO-1 and occludin was blocked by the EGFR and ERK1/2 inhibitors. These results suggest that endophilin-1 regulates BBB permeability by controlling ZO-1 and occludin expression via the EGFR-ERK1/2 pathway in BECs.

Brain Res. 1573:17-26(2014) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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