The novel exchange protein activated by cyclic AMP 1 (EPAC1) agonist, I942, regulates inflammatory gene expression in human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs)

Jolanta Wiejak, Boy Van Basten, Urszula Luchowska-Stańska, Graham Hamilton, Stephen J. Yarwood

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Exchange protein activated by cyclic AMP (EPAC1) suppresses multiple inflammatory actions in vascular endothelial cells (VECs), partly due to its ability to induce expression of the suppressor of cytokine signalling 3 (SOCS3) gene, the protein product of which inhibits interleukin 6 (IL6) signalling through the JAK/STAT3 pathway. Here, for the first time, we use the non-cyclic nucleotide EPAC1 agonist, I942, to determine its actions on cellular EPAC1 activity and cyclic AMP-regulated gene expression in VECs. We demonstrate that I942 promotes EPAC1 and Rap1 activation in HEK293T cells and induces SOCS3 expression and suppresses IL6-stimulated JAK/STAT3 signalling in HUVECs. SOCS3 induction by I942 in HUVECs was blocked by the EPAC1 antagonist, ESI-09, and EPAC1 siRNA, but not by the broad-spectrum protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor, H89, indicating that I942 regulates SOCS3 gene expression through EPAC1. RNA sequencing was carried out to further identify I942-regulated genes in HUVECs. This identified 425 I942-regulated genes that were also regulated by the EPAC1-selective cyclic AMP analogue, 007, and the cyclic AMP-elevating agents, forskolin and rolipram (F/R). The majority of genes identified were suppressed by I942, 007 and F/R treatment and many were involved in the control of key vascular functions, including the gene for the cell adhesion molecule, VCAM1. I942 and 007 also inhibited IL6-induced expression of VCAM1 at the protein level and blocked VCAM1-dependent monocyte adhesion to HUVECs. Overall, I942 represents the first non-cyclic nucleotide EPAC1 agonist in cells with the ability to suppress IL6 signalling and inflammatory gene expression in VECs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-276
Number of pages13
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Cell Research
Issue number2
Early online date9 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019



  • Cell adhesion molecules
  • Cyclic AMP
  • EPAC1
  • Inflammation
  • Transcriptome
  • Vascular endothelial cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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