Evidence of selective activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor nongenomic calcium signaling by pyrene

Abstract : In its classical genomic mode of action, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) acts as a ligand activated transcription factor regulating expression of target genes such as CYP1A1 and CYP1B1. Some ligands may also trigger more rapid nongenomic responses through AhR, including calcium signaling (Ca). In the present study we observed that pyrene induced a relatively rapid increase in intracellular Ca-concentrations ([Ca]) in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMEC-1) and human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293) that was attenuated by AhR-inhibitor treatment and/or transient AhR knockdown by RNAi. In silico molecular docking based on homology models, suggested that pyrene is not able to bind to the human AhR in the agonist conformation. Instead, pyrene docked in the antagonist conformation of the AhR PAS-B binding pocket, although the interaction differed from antagonists such as GNF-351 and CH223191. Accordingly, pyrene did not induce CYP1A1 or CYP1B1, but suppressed CYP1-expression by benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) in HMEC-1 cells, confirming that pyrene act as an antagonist of AhR-induced gene expression. Use of pharmacological inhibitors and Ca-free medium indicated that the pyrene-induced AhR nongenomic [Ca] increase was initiated by Ca-release from intracellular stores followed by a later phase of extracellular Ca-influx, consistent with store operated calcium entry (SOCE). These effects was accompanied by an AhR-dependent reduction in ordered membrane lipid domains, as determined by di-4-ANEPPDHQ staining. Addition of cholesterol inhibited both the pyrene-induced [Ca]-increase and alterations in membrane lipid order. In conclusion, we propose that pyrene binds to AhR, act as an antagonist of the canonical genomic AhR/Arnt/CYP1-pathway, reduces ordered membrane lipid domains, and activates AhR nongenomic Ca-signaling from intracellular stores.
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Bendik C Brinchmann, Eric Le Ferrec, William H Bisson, Normand Podechard, Henrik S Huitfeldt, et al.. Evidence of selective activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor nongenomic calcium signaling by pyrene. Biochemical Pharmacology, Elsevier, 2018, 158, pp.1-12. ⟨10.1016/j.bcp.2018.09.023⟩. ⟨hal-01888873⟩

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