Researchers at University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill have now identified a potential target for therapeutic intervention in CCM. The disease is associated with mutations in any of three genes, ccm1, ccm2 or ccm3, which encode the corresponding CCM-1, -2 and -3 proteins. These proteins form a common complex and act co-ordinately in regulation of the cytoskeleton. It had previously been shown that loss of CCM-2 resulted in overexpression of the GTPase, RhoA, but this latest study demonstrates that CCM-1 and CCM-3 are also required for regulation of RhoA.The team were able to restore normal function to endothelial cells lacking CCM-1, -2 or -3 by inhibition of the RhoA-activated Rho Kinase (ROCK), either using an inhibitor, Y-27632, or shRNA knockdown of ROCK2. The results suggest that inhibition of ROCK may represent a target for pharmacological intervention in this disease.
The study is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.