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J Biol Chem. 2008 Mar 21;283(12):7401-10. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M710396200. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

Hepatocyte growth factor suppresses proinflammatory NFkappaB activation through GSK3beta inactivation in renal tubular epithelial cells.

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  • 1Division of Kidney Disease and Hypertension, Department of Medicine, Brown University School of Medicine, Provindence, Rhode Island 02903, USA.


Activation of NFkappaB is a fundamental cellular event central to all inflammatory diseases. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) ameliorates both acute and chronic inflammation in a multitude of organ systems through modulating NFkappaB activity; nevertheless, the exact molecular mechanism remains uncertain. Here we report that HGF through inactivation of GSK3beta suppresses NFkappaB p65 phosphorylation specifically at position Ser-468. The Ser-468 of RelA/p65 situates in a GSK3beta consensus motif and could be directly phosphorylated by GSK3beta both in vivo and in vitro, signifying Ser-468 of RelA/p65 as a putative substrate for GSK3beta. In addition, the C terminus of RelA/p65 harbors a highly conserved domain homologue of the consensus docking sequence for GSK3beta. Moreover, this domain was required for efficient phosphorylation of Ser-468 and was indispensable for the physical interaction between RelA/p65 and GSK3beta. HGF substantially intercepted this interaction by inactivating GSK3beta. Functionally, phosphorylation of Ser-468 of RelA/p65 was required for the induced expression of a particular subset of proinflammatory NFkappaB-dependent genes. Diminished phosphorylation at Ser-468 by HGF resulted in a gene-specific inhibition of these genes' expression. The action of HGF on proinflammatory NFkappaB activation was consistently mimicked by a selective GSK3beta inhibitor or GSK3beta knockdown by RNA interference but largely abrogated in cells expressing the mutant uninhibitable GSK3beta. Collectively, our findings suggest that HGF has a potent suppressive effect on NFkappaB activation, which is mediated by GSK3beta, an important signaling transducer controlling RelA/p65 phosphorylation specificity and directing the transcription of selective proinflammatory cytokines implicated in inflammatory kidney disease.

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