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Mol Immunol. 2007 Mar;44(7):1587-97. Epub 2006 Sep 20.

Protein kinase R, IkappaB kinase-beta and NF-kappaB are required for human rhinovirus induced pro-inflammatory cytokine production in bronchial epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Respiratory Medicine, National Heart Lung Institute and Wright Fleming Institute of Infection and Immunity, Imperial College London, Norfolk Place, London W2 1PG, UK.


Rhinovirus infections cause the majority of acute exacerbations of airway diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, with increased pro-inflammatory cytokine production by infected bronchial epithelial cells contributing to disease pathogenesis. Theses diseases are a huge cause of morbidity worldwide, and contribute a major economic burden to healthcare costs. Current steroid based treatments are only partially efficient at controlling virus induced inflammation, which remains an unmet therapeutic goal. Although NF-kappaB has been implicated, the precise mechanisms of rhinovirus induction of pro-inflammatory gene expression in bronchial epithelial cells are unclear. We hypothesised that rhinovirus replication and generation of dsRNA was an important process of pro-inflammatory cytokine induction. Using pharmalogical (2-aminopurine and a new small molecule inhibitor) and genetic inhibition of the dsRNA binding kinase protein kinase R, striking inhibition of dsRNA (polyrIC) and rhinovirus induced CCL5, CXCL8 and IL-6 protein was observed. Using confocal microscopy, rhinovirus induced protein kinase R phosphorylation co-located with NF-kappaB p65 nuclear translocation. Focusing on CXCL8, both rhinovirus infection and dsRNA treatment required IkappaB kinase-beta for induction of CXCL8. Analysis of cis-acting sites in the CXCL8 promoter revealed that both rhinovirus infection and dsRNA treatment upregulated CXCL8 promoter activation via NF-kappaB and NF-IL6 binding sites. Together, the results demonstrate the importance of dsRNA in induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines by rhinoviruses, and suggest that protein kinase R is involved in NF-kappaB mediated gene transcription of pro-inflammatory cytokines via IkappaB kinase-beta. These molecules regulating rhinovirus induction of inflammation represent therapeutic targets.

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