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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jul 29;286(30):26440-9. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.237495. Epub 2011 Jun 9.

Distinct roles for Nod2 protein and autocrine interleukin-1beta in muramyl dipeptide-induced mitogen-activated protein kinase activation and cytokine secretion in human macrophages.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.


Elucidating factors regulating Crohn's disease-associated nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain 2 (Nod2) responses is critical to understanding the mechanisms of intestinal immune homeostasis. Stimulation of primary monocyte-derived macrophages by muramyl dipeptide (MDP), a component of bacterial peptidoglycan and specific Nod2 ligand, produces cytokines, including IL-1β. We found that IL-1β blockade profoundly inhibits MDP-induced cytokine production in human monocyte-derived macrophages, demonstrating a key role for IL-1β autocrine secretion in Nod2-mediated responses. Importantly, although MAPK activation has previously been attributed directly to Nod2 signaling, we determined that the IL-1β autocrine loop is responsible for the majority of MDP-induced MAPK activation. Because the critical effects of IL-1β autocrine secretion on MAPK activation are observed as early as 10 min after Nod2 stimulation, we hypothesized that secretion of IL-1β from preexisting intracellular pro-IL-1β stores is necessary for optimal MDP-mediated cytokine induction. Consistently, we detected IL-1β secretion within 10 min of MDP treatment. Moreover, caspase-1 inhibition significantly attenuates MDP-mediated early MAPK activation. Importantly, selective JNK/p38 activation is sufficient to rescue the decreased cytokine secretion during Nod2 stimulation in the absence of autocrine IL-1β. Finally, we found that the IL-1β autocrine loop significantly enhances responses by a broad range of pattern recognition receptors. Taken together, MDP stimulation activates Nod2 to process and release preexisting pro-IL-1β stores in a caspase-1-dependent fashion; this secreted IL-1β, in turn, contributes to the majority of MDP-initiated MAPK activation and leads to subsequent cytokine secretion. Our findings clarify mechanisms of IL-1β contributions to Nod2 responses and elucidate the dominant role of IL-1β in MDP-initiated MAPK and cytokine secretion.

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