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Mol Cell Biol. 2011 Apr;31(8):1710-8. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00939-10. Epub 2011 Feb 7.

Selective abrogation of BiP/GRP78 blunts activation of NF-κB through the ATF6 branch of the UPR: involvement of C/EBPβ and mTOR-dependent dephosphorylation of Akt.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Signaling, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, Shimokato 1110, Chuo, Yamanashi 409-3898, Japan.


Subtilase cytotoxin (SubAB) that selectively cleaves BiP/GRP78 triggers the unfolded protein response (UPR) and protects mice from endotoxic lethality and collagen arthritis. We found that pretreatment of cells with SubAB suppressed tumor necrosis alpha (TNF-α)-induced activation of NF-κB and NF-κB-dependent chemokine expression. To elucidate underlying mechanisms, the involvement of C/EBP and Akt, putative regulators of NF-κB, was investigated. Among members of the C/EBP family, SubAB preferentially induced C/EBPβ. Overexpression of C/EBPβ suppressed TNF-α-induced NF-κB activation, and knockdown of C/EBPβ attenuated the suppressive effect of SubAB on NF-κB. We identified that the ATF6 branch of the UPR plays a crucial role in the induction of C/EBPβ. In addition to this effect, SubAB depressed basal and TNF-α-induced phosphorylation of Akt via the UPR. It was mediated by the induction of ATF6 and consequent activation of mTOR that dephosphorylated Akt. Inhibition of Akt attenuated activation of NF-κB by TNF-α, suggesting that the mTOR-Akt pathway is another target for SubAB-initiated, UPR-mediated NF-κB suppression. These results elucidated that SubAB blunts activation of NF-κB through ATF6-dependent mechanisms, i.e., preferential induction of C/EBPβ and mTOR-dependent dephosphorylation of Akt.

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