Background: VTP-27999 is a renin inhibitor with an IC50 that is comparable to that of aliskiren, but with a higher bioavailability. Unexpectedly, VTP-27999, unlike aliskiren, did not unfold renin's precursor, prorenin, and increased the affinity of the antibodies applied in renin immunoassays. Methods: Here we verified to what degree these differences affect intracellular renin inhibitor accumulation in renin-synthesizing human mast cells (HMC-1), and (pro)renin's signaling via the (pro)renin receptor ((P)RR) in rat vascular smooth muscle cells. We also addressed the consequences of (P)RR knockdown by small-interfering (si) RNA on (pro)renin release. Finally, making use of FRET(Bodipy-FL)-labeled aliskiren, we studied, by subcellular fractionation, the cellular distribution pattern of this renin inhibitor. Results: VTP-27999 accumulated at higher levels in HMC-1 cells than aliskiren, allowing this inhibitor to block intracellular renin at approximately five-fold lower medium levels. Labeled aliskiren accumulated in mitochondria and lysosomes, and its distribution pattern was different from that of renin. Moreover, the intracellular accumulation of both inhibitors in nonrenin-synthesizing HEK293 cells was not different from that in HMC-1 cells, suggesting that it is renin synthesis-independent. VTP-27999, but not aliskiren, blocked renin's capacity to stimulate extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 phosphorylation in vascular smooth muscle cells, whereas neither inhibitor interfered with prorenin-induced signaling. (P)RR knockdown greatly increased renin (and to a lesser degree, prorenin) release, without affecting the capacity of forskolin or cAMP to stimulate renin release. Conclusion: VTP-27999 differs from aliskiren regarding its level of intracellular accumulation and its capacity to interfere with renin signaling via the (P)RR, and the (P)RR determines prorenin-renin conversion and constitutive (but not regulated) (pro)renin release.

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Journal of Hypertension
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Lu, X., Krop, M., Batenburg, W., Musterd-Bhaggoe, U., Garrelds, I., & Danser, J. (2014). Renin inhibitor VTP-27999 differs from aliskiren: Focus on their intracellular accumulation and the (pro)renin receptor. Journal of Hypertension, 32(6), 1255–1263. doi:10.1097/HJH.0000000000000167