Activation of the nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT)-1-methylnicotinamide (MNA) pathway in pulmonary hypertension
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids initiate disease in the lung (pulmonary hypertension), liver (veno-occlusive disease and cirrhosis), and kidneys (afferent arteriolar block and mesangiolysis) by inducing a megalocytotic phenotype in target endothelial and parenchymal cells. A "hit-and-run" type of exposure to the bioactive pyrrolizidine results, within 2-3 days, in enlarged cells with large nuclei and enlarged Golgi and endoplasmic reticulum, while the cells remain in G2/M block. In the present study, we recapitulated monocrotaline pyrrole (MCTP)-induced megalocytosis in cultures of bovine pulmonary arterial endothelial cells (PAEC), human Hep3B hepatocytes, human type II-like alveolar epithelial cells (A549), and human pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cells (PASMC) and investigated the subcellular mechanism involved. There was an inverse relationship between reduction in caveolin (Cav)-1 levels and stimulation of promitogenic STAT3 and ERK1/2 cell signaling. In megalocytotic PAEC, the Golgi scaffolding protein GM130 was shifted from membranes with heavy density to those with a lighter density. This lighter Golgi fraction was enriched for hypo-oligomeric Cav-1, indicating dysfunctional trafficking of cargo. Immunofluorescence imaging studies confirmed the trapping of Cav-1 in a GM130-positive Golgi compartment. There was an increase in Ser25 phosphorylation of GM130 (typically a prelude to Golgi fragmentation and mitosis) and increased association between pGM130, cdc2 kinase, and Cav-1. Nevertheless, megalocytotic MCTP-treated cells showed reduced entry into mitosis upon stimulation with 2-methoxyestradiol (2-ME), reduced 2-ME-induced Golgi fragmentation, and a slowing of Golgi reassembly after nocodazole-induced fragmentation. These data suggest that a disruption of the trafficking and mitosis sensor functions of the Golgi may represent the subcellular mechanism leading to MCTP-induced megalocytosis ("the Golgi blockade hypothesis").