The cortactin gene (CTTN), encoding an actin-binding protein critically involved in cytoskeletal dynamics and endothelial cell (EC) barrier integrity, contains single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with severe asthma in Black patients. As loss of lung EC integrity is a major driver of mortality in the Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), sepsis, and the acute chest syndrome (ACS), we speculated CTTN SNPs that alter EC barrier function will associate with clinical outcomes from these types of conditions in Black patients. In case-control studies, evaluation of a nonsynonymous CTTN coding SNP Ser484Asn (rs56162978, G/A) in a severe sepsis cohort (725 Black subjects) revealed significant association with increased risk of sepsis mortality. In a separate cohort of sickle cell disease (SCD) subjects with and without ACS (177 SCD Black subjects), significantly increased risk of ACS and increased ACS severity (need for mechanical ventilation) was observed in carriers of the A allele. Human lung EC expressing the cortactin S484N transgene exhibited: (i) delayed EC barrier recovery following thrombin-induced permeability; (ii) reduced levels of critical Tyr486 cortactin phosphorylation; (iii) inhibited binding to the cytoskeletal regulator, nmMLCK; and (iv) attenuated EC barrier-promoting lamellipodia dynamics and biophysical responses. ARDS-challenged Cttn+/− heterozygous mice exhibited increased lung vascular permeability (compared to wild-type mice) which was significantly attenuated by IV delivery of liposomes encargoed with CTTN WT transgene but not by CTTN S484N transgene. In summary, these studies suggest that the CTTN S484N coding SNP contributes to severity of inflammatory injury in Black patients, potentially via delayed vascular barrier restoration.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Physiology (medical)
- Biochemistry, medical