c-Src-dependent transactivation of EGFR mediates CORM-2-induced HO-1 expression in human tracheal smooth muscle cells

Chuen Mao Yang, Chih Chung Lin, I-Ta Lee, Chih Kai Hsu, Yu Chen Tai, Hsi Lung Hsieh, Pei Ling Chi, Li Der Hsiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Carbon monoxide (CO), a reaction product of the cytoprotective heme oxygenase (HO)-1, displays an anti-inflammatory effect in various cellular injuries, but the precise mechanisms of HO-1 expression remain unknown. We used the transition metal carbonyl compound carbon monoxide-releasing molecule-2 (CORM-2) that acts as carbon monoxide donor. The effects of CORM-2 on expression of HO-1 in human tracheal smooth muscle cells (HTSMCs) were determined by Western blot, real-time PCR, and promoter activity assay. In HTSMCs, CORM-2 activated Nrf2 through the activation of a c-Src/EGFR/PI3K/Akt-dependent pathway, resulting in HO-1 expression. We showed that CORM-2-induced HO-1 protein and mRNA levels were inhibited by the inhibitor of c-Src (PP1 or SU6656), EGFR (AG1478), PI3K (LY294002), Akt (SH-5), JNK1/2 (SP600125), or p38 MAPK (SB202190) and transfection with siRNA of c-Src, EGFR, Akt, p38, JNK2, or Nrf2 in HTSMCs. We also showed that CORM-2 stimulated c-Src, EGFR, Akt, p38 MAPK, and JNK1/2 phosphorylation. CORM-2 also enhanced Nrf2 translocation from the cytosol to the nucleus and antioxidant response element (ARE) promoter activity. Moreover, CORM-2 mediated p38 MAPK and JNK1/2 activation via a c-Src/EGFR/PI3K/Akt pathway, which further enhanced Nrf2 activation and translocation. Finally, we observed that CORM-2 induced in vivo binding of Nrf2 to the HO-1 promoter. CORM-2 activates the c-Src/EGFR/PI3K/Akt/JNK1/2 and p38 MAPK pathways, which in turn trigger Nrf2 activation and ultimately induces HO-1 expression in HTSMCs. Thus, the HO-1/CO system might be potential therapeutics in airway diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2351-2361
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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