p53 regulates mitochondrial dynamics in vascular smooth muscle cell calcification.

Kanchan Phadwal, Qiyu Tang, Ineke Luijten, Jin-Feng Zhao, Brendan Corcoran, Robert K Semple, Ian G Ganley, Vicky MacRae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Arterial calcification is an important characteristic of cardiovascular disease. It has key parallels with skeletal mineralization; however, the underlying cellular mechanisms responsible are not fully understood. Mitochondrial dynamics regulate both bone and vascular function. In this study, we therefore examined mitochondrial function in vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) calcification. Phosphate (Pi)-induced VSMC calcification was associated with elongated mitochondria (1.6-fold increase, p < 0.001), increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) production (1.83-fold increase, p < 0.001) and reduced mitophagy (9.6-fold decrease, p < 0.01). An increase in protein expression of optic atrophy protein 1 (OPA1; 2.1-fold increase, p < 0.05) and a converse decrease in expression of dynamin-related protein 1 (DRP1; 1.5-fold decrease, p < 0.05), two crucial proteins required for the mitochondrial fusion and fission process, respectively, were noted. Furthermore, the phosphorylation of DRP1 Ser637 was increased in the cytoplasm of calcified VSMCs (5.50-fold increase), suppressing mitochondrial translocation of DRP1. Additionally, calcified VSMCs showed enhanced expression of p53 (2.5-fold increase, p < 0.05) and β-galactosidase activity (1.8-fold increase, p < 0.001), the cellular senescence markers. siRNA-mediated p53 knockdown reduced calcium deposition (8.1-fold decrease, p < 0.01), mitochondrial length (3.0-fold decrease, p < 0.001) and β-galactosidase activity (2.6-fold decrease, p < 0.001), with concomitant mitophagy induction (3.1-fold increase, p < 0.05). Reduced OPA1 (4.1-fold decrease, p < 0.05) and increased DRP1 protein expression (2.6-fold increase, p < 0.05) with decreased phosphorylation of DRP1 Ser637 (3.20-fold decrease, p < 0.001) was also observed upon p53 knockdown in calcifying VSMCs. In summary, we demonstrate that VSMC calcification promotes notable mitochondrial elongation and cellular senescence via DRP1 phosphorylation. Furthermore, our work indicates that p53-induced mitochondrial fusion underpins cellular senescence by reducing mitochondrial function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1643
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Vascular smooth muscle cells
  • arterial calcification
  • mitochondrial dynamics
  • senes cence


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