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NADPH oxidase expression and production of superoxide by human corneal stromal cells.

Molecular vision (2009-12-10)
William J O'Brien, Tom Heimann, Farhan Rizvi
ABSTRACT

Superoxide (O(2) (.-)) may function as a second messenger or regulator of signal transduction when produced at low concentrations in the proper locations within cells. The purpose of these studies was to determine whether human corneal stromal (HCS) fibroblasts are capable of producing O(2) (.-) via nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidases, a family of protein complexes believed to be responsible for the localized and limited production of O(2) (.-) with regulatory activity. HCS cells, grown as primary and low-passage cultures of fibroblasts, were used as the sources of RNA for reverse transcriptase PCR, with primers specific for mRNAs encoding the proteins that comprise NADPH oxidases. Small interfering (si)RNAs were used to knockdown specific NOX mRNAs. Proteins composing the NADPH oxidase complexes were identified using western blots. The production of O(2) (.-) by whole cells and cell-free preparations was assessed by measurement of NADPH-dependent superoxide dismutase-inhibitable cytochrome c reduction. Whole cells and cell-free extracts of corneal stromal fibroblasts produced O(2) (.-) in an NADPH-dependent manner. These fibroblasts constitutively produced mRNAs encoding eight proteins known to comprise NADPH oxidase complexes. mRNAs encoding NOX1, NOX4, NOX5, p22 phox, p47 phox, p67 phox, and p40 phox as well as Rac were expressed. Treatment of HCS fibroblasts with siRNA pools specific for each of these three NOXs significantly reduced the steady state levels of the respective mRNAs. Western blots confirmed the existence of all the proteins required for O(2) (.-) production. Rac 1, a regulator of the activity of some forms of NADPH complexes was present in membranous cell fractions containing the oxidase proteins. HCS fibroblasts produced O(2) (.-) in a NADPH-dependent manner via at least three isoforms of NADPH oxidase. These cells expressed NOX1, NOX4, NOX5, p22 phox, p47 phox, p67 phox, and p40 phox as well as Rac. SiRNAs directed against each of the three putative isoforms of NOX significantly reduced the steady state levels of the appropriate NOX mRNA pools, thus confirming the existence of the three isoforms. The O(2) (.-) produced by the NADPH oxidases in HCS fibroblasts is a potential contributor to signal transduction pathways and a regulator of gene expression as well as a potential participant in processes that occur during inflammation.

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