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J Biol Chem. 2003 Sep 19;278(38):36334-40. Epub 2003 Jul 16.

Ras participates in CpG oligodeoxynucleotide signaling through association with toll-like receptor 9 and promotion of interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase/tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 complex formation in macrophages.

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  • 1Institute of Immunology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, People's Republic of China.


CpG oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) activate immune cells to produce immune mediators by Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9)-mediated signal transduction, which activates mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) through the MyD88/IRAK/TRAF6 kinases cascade. However, the precise mechanisms of CpG ODN activation of immune cells have not been fully elucidated. The small GTP-binding protein Ras mediates MAPK activation in response to a variety of stimuli. Up to now, it is not clear whether Ras plays a role in CpG ODN signaling. In the present study, we found that the dominant-negative version of Ras (RasN17) and specific Ras inhibitor, FTI-277, inhibited CpG ODN-induced nitric oxide (NO) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) production by murine macrophage cell line RAW264.7. While overexpression of wild-type Ras enhanced CpG ODN-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), and NF-kappaB activation, overexpression of RasN17 inhibited CpG ODN-induced ERK, JNK, and NF-kappaB activation. RasN17 overexpression also inhibited CpG ODN-induced IRAK1/TRAF6 complex formation. Further studies revealed that CpG ODN activated Ras in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and Ras associated with TLR9 in a CpG ODN-dependent manner. Most interestingly, activation of Ras preceded the association of Ras with TLR9, giving rise to a possibility that Ras activation might not be dependent on the interaction between Ras and TLR9. Our data demonstrate for the first time that Ras can be activated by CpG ODN in macrophages, and Ras is involved in CpG ODN signaling as an early event by associating with TLR9 and promoting IRAK1/TRAF6 complex formation, and MAPK and NF-kappaB activation.

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