We have shown that both reactive oxygen species (ROS) and paxillin tyrosine phosphorylation regulate LPS-induced human lung endothelial permeability. Mitochondrial ROS (mtROS) is known to increase endothelial cell (EC) permeability which requires dynamic change in mitochondrial morphology, events that are likely to be regulated by paxillin. Here, we investigated the role of paxillin and its tyrosine phosphorylation in regulating LPS-induced mitochondrial dynamics, mtROS production and human lung microvascular EC (HLMVEC) dysfunction. LPS, in a time-dependent manner, induced higher levels of ROS generation in the mitochondria compared to cytoplasm or nucleus. Down-regulation of paxillin expression with siRNA or ecto-expression of paxillin Y31F or Y118F mutant plasmids attenuated LPS-induced mtROS in HLMVECs. Pre-treatment with MitoTEMPO, a scavenger of mtROS, attenuated LPS-induced mtROS, endothelial permeability and VE-cadherin phosphorylation. Further, LPS-induced mitochondrial fission in HLMVECs was attenuated by both a paxillin siRNA, and paxillin Y31F/Y118F mutant. LPS stimulated phosphorylation of dynamin-related protein (DRP1) at S616, which was also attenuated by paxillin siRNA, and paxillinY31/Y118 mutants. Inhibition of DRP1 phosphorylation by P110 attenuated LPS-induced mtROS and endothelial permeability. LPS challenge of HLMVECs enhanced interaction between paxillin, ERK, and DRP1, and inhibition of ERK1/2 activation with PD98059 blocked mitochondrial fission. Taken together, these results suggest a key role for paxillin tyrosine phosphorylation in LPS-induced mitochondrial fission, mtROS generation and EC barrier dysfunction.
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