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Publication Date


Published In / Presented At

PLoS One


Cell Anatomy | Cell Biology | Medicine and Health Sciences


More than 200 heterozygous mutations in the type 2 BMP receptor gene, BMPR2, have been identified in patients with Heritable Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (HPAH). More severe clinical outcomes occur in patients with BMPR2 mutations by-passing nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD negative mutations). These comprise 40% of HPAH mutations and are predicted to express BMPR2 mutant products. However expression of endogenous NMD negative BMPR2 mutant products and their effect on protein trafficking and signaling function have never been described. Here, we characterize the expression and trafficking of an HPAH-associated NMD negative BMPR2 mutation that results in an in-frame deletion of BMPR2 EXON2 (BMPR2ΔEx2) in HPAH patient-derived lymphocytes and in pulmonary endothelial cells (PECs) from mice carrying the same in-frame deletion of Exon 2 (Bmpr2 (ΔEx2/+) mice). The endogenous BMPR2ΔEx2 mutant product does not reach the cell surface and is retained in the endoplasmic reticulum. Moreover, chemical chaperones 4-PBA and TUDCA partially restore cell surface expression of Bmpr2ΔEx2 in PECs, suggesting that the mutant product is mis-folded. We also show that PECs from Bmpr2 (ΔEx2/+) mice have defects in the BMP-induced Smad1/5/8 and Id1 signaling axis, and that addition of chemical chaperones restores expression of the Smad1/5/8 target Id1. These data indicate that the endogenous NMD negative BMPRΔEx2 mutant product is expressed but has a folding defect resulting in ER retention. Partial correction of this folding defect and restoration of defective BMP signaling using chemical chaperones suggests that protein-folding agents could be used therapeutically in patients with these NMD negative BMPR2 mutations.


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