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J Biol Chem. 1999 Oct 22;274(43):30919-26.

Interleukin-6 increases rat metalloproteinase-13 gene expression through stimulation of activator protein 1 transcription factor in cultured fibroblasts.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599, USA. jasolis@h12o.es


The role of IL-6 in collagen production and tissue remodeling is controversial. In Rat-1 fibroblasts, we measured the effect of IL-6 on matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP-13), c-jun, junB, and c-fos gene expression, binding of activator protein 1 (AP1) to DNA, amount of AP1 proteins, immunoreactive MMP-13 and TIMP-1 proteins, and Jun N-terminal kinase activity. We show that IL-6 increased MMP-13-mRNA and MMP-13 protein. These effects were exerted by acting on the AP1-binding site of the MMP-13 promoter, as shown by transfecting cells with reporter plasmids containing mutations in this element. Mobility shift assays demonstrated that IL-6 induced the DNA binding activity of AP1. This effect was accompanied by a marked increase in c-Jun, JunB, and c-Fos mRNA, as well as in c-Jun protein and its phosphorylated form. The latter is not due to increased Jun N-terminal kinase activity but to a decreased serine/threonine phosphatase activity. We conclude that IL-6 increases interstitial MMP-13 gene expression at the promoter level. This effect seems to be mediated by the induction of c-jun, junB, and c-fos gene expression, by the binding of AP1 to DNA, by increasing phosphorylated c-Jun, and by the inhibition of serine/threonine phosphatase activity. These effects of IL-6 might contribute to remodeling connective tissue.

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