We previously demonstrated that cholesterol deprivation increases endothelial cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2)-dependent prostacyclin [prostaglandin I2 (PGI2)] production in vitro. Cholesterol directly regulates gene transcription through the sterol response element binding protein (SREBP). In this work, we demonstrate that SREBP directly regulates COX-2 expression. Cholesterol reduces human COX-2 promoter-luciferase reporter construct activity in transiently transfected endothelial cells. Conversely, cotransfection with a constitutively active mutant SREBP increases COX-2 promoter activity. SREBP-1a and -2 specifically bind a putative sterol response element (SRE) sequence in the COX-2 promoter. This sequence competes for SREBP binding to a low density lipoprotein receptor consensus sequence in an electromobility-shift assay. These data indicate that endothelial COX-2 is regulated by cholesterol via the SREBP pathway. The present study identifies COX-2 as the first vascular gene without a clear role in lipid metabolism transactivated by SREBP, and suggests that enhanced production of PGI2 through this pathway may be an additional benefit of cholesterol-lowering therapies.
- HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor
- Vascular endothelial function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology