DUSP26 induces aortic valve calcification by antagonizing MDM2-mediated ubiquitination of DPP4 in human valvular interstitial cells.

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The morbidity and mortality rates of calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD) remain high while treatment options are limited. Here, we evaluated the role and therapeutic value of dual-specificity phosphatase 26 (DUSP26) in CAVD.Microarray profiling of human calcific aortic valves and normal controls demonstrated that DUSP26 was significantly up-regulated in calcific aortic valves. ApoE-/- mice fed a normal diet or a high cholesterol diet (HCD) were infected with adeno-associated virus serotype 2 carrying DUSP26 short-hairpin RNA to examine the effects of DUSP26 silencing on aortic valve calcification. DUSP26 silencing ameliorated aortic valve calcification in HCD-treated ApoE-/- mice, as evidenced by reduced thickness and calcium deposition in the aortic valve leaflets, improved echocardiographic parameters (decreased peak transvalvular jet velocity and mean transvalvular pressure gradient, as well as increased aortic valve area), and decreased levels of osteogenic markers (Runx2, osterix, and osteocalcin) in the aortic valves. These results were confirmed in osteogenic medium-induced human valvular interstitial cells. Immunoprecipitation, liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, and functional assays revealed that dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) interacted with DUSP26 to mediate the procalcific effects of DUSP26. High N6-methyladenosine levels up-regulated DUSP26 in CAVD; in turn, DUSP26 activated DPP4 by antagonizing mouse double minute 2-mediated ubiquitination and degradation of DPP4, thereby promoting CAVD progression.DUSP26 promotes aortic valve calcification by inhibiting DPP4 degradation. Our findings identify a previously unrecognized mechanism of DPP4 up-regulation in CAVD, suggesting that DUSP26 silencing or inhibition is a viable therapeutic strategy to impede CAVD progression.

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Authors: Yongjun Wang, Dong Han, Tingwen Zhou, Cheng Chen, Hong Cao, Joe Z Zhang, Ning Ma, Chun Liu, Moshi Song, Jiawei Shi, Xin Jin, Feng Cao, Nianguo Dong