Peptides modified by myristoylation activate eNOS in endothelial cells through Akt phosphorylation

Karina Krotova, Hanbo Hu, Shen Ling Xia, Leonid Belayev, Jawaharlal M. Patel, Edward R. Block, Sergey Zharikov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


1 Myristoylated pseudosubstrate of PKCζ (mPS) - a synthetic myristoylated peptide with a sequence (13 amino acids) mimicking the endogenous PKCζ pseudosubstrate region - is considered a selective cell-permeable inhibitor of PKCζ. We present strong evidence that in endothelial cells the action of mPS is not limited to inhibition of PKC activity and that myristoylation of certain peptides can activate eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase) through Akt phosphorylation. 2 mPS at micromolar concentrations (1-10 μM) induced profound phosphorylation of eNOS, Akt, ERK 1/2, and p38 MAPK in cultured pulmonary artery endothelial cells (PAEC). The same changes were observed after treatment of PAEC with a myristoylated scrambled version of mPS (mScr), whereas a cell-permeable version of PKCζ pseudosubstrate fused to the HIV-TAT membrane-translocating peptide did not induce analogous changes, suggesting that myristoylation confers new properties on the peptides consisting of activation of different signaling pathways in endothelial cells. 3 In addition to mPS and mScr, a number of other myristoylated peptides induced phosphorylation of eNOS suggesting that myristoylation of peptides can activate eNOS by mechanisms unrelated to inhibition of PKC. All active myristoylated peptides contained basic amino acids motif and were longer than six amino acids. 4 Activation of eNOS by myristoylated peptides was dependent on the PI3K/Akt pathway and the rise of intracellular calcium and was associated with an elevation of cGMP levels in PAEC and with relaxation of precontracted isolated pulmonary artery segments. 5 Myristoylated peptides can be considered a new class of activators of NO production in endothelial cells and that using mPS as a specific inhibitor of PKCζ should be done with caution, especially in endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)732-740
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 5 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Akt
  • Endothelial cells
  • Intracellular calcium
  • Myristoylated peptides
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Phosphorylation


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