The role of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) in regulating endothelial function through the DNA damage response (DDR) remains poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrate that lncRNA maternally expressed gene 3 (Meg3) interacts with the RNA binding protein polypyrimidine tract binding protein 3 (PTBP3) to regulate gene expression and endothelial function through p53 signaling a major coordinator of apoptosis and cell proliferation triggered by the DDR. Meg3 expression is induced in endothelial cells (ECs) upon p53 activation. Meg3 silencing induces DNA damage, activates p53 signaling, increases the expression of p53 target genes, promotes EC apoptosis, and inhibits EC proliferation. Mechanistically, Meg3 silencing reduces the interaction of p53 with Mdm2, induces p53 expression, and promotes the association of p53 with the promoters of a subset of p53 target genes. PTBP3 silencing recapitulates the effects of Meg3 deficiency on the expression of p53 target genes, EC apoptosis and proliferation. The Meg3-dependent association of PTBP3 with the promoters of p53 target genes suggests that Meg3 and PTBP3 restrain p53 activation. Our studies reveal a novel role of Meg3 and PTBP3 in regulating p53 signaling and endothelial function, which may serve as novel targets for therapies to restore endothelial homeostasis.
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