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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 17;8(6):e67633. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067633. Print 2013.

WW domain containing E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1 (WWP1) negatively regulates TLR4-mediated TNF-α and IL-6 production by proteasomal degradation of TNF receptor associated factor 6 (TRAF6).

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  • 1Department of Pain Management, Provincial Hospital affiliated to Shandong University, Shandong University, Jinan, PR China.



Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a pivotal role in the defense against invading pathogens by detecting pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs). TLR4 recognizes lipopolysaccharides (LPS) in the cell walls of Gram-negative bacteria, resulting in the induction and secretion of proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α and IL-6. The WW domain containing E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1 (WWP1) regulates a variety of cellular biological processes. Here, we investigated whether WWP1 acts as an E3 ubiquitin ligase in TLR-mediated inflammation.


Knocking down WWP1 enhanced the TNF-α and IL-6 production induced by LPS, and over-expression of WWP1 inhibited the TNF-α and IL-6 production induced by LPS, but not by TNF-α. WWP1 also inhibited the IκB-α, NF-κB, and MAPK activation stimulated by LPS. Additionally, WWP1 could degrade TRAF6, but not IRAK1, in the proteasome pathway, and knocking down WWP1 reduced the LPS-induced K48-linked, but not K63-linked, polyubiquitination of endogenous TRAF6.


We identified WWP1 as an important negative regulator of TLR4-mediated TNF-α and IL-6 production. We also showed that WWP1 functions as an E3 ligase when cells are stimulated with LPS by binding to TRAF6 and promoting K48-linked polyubiquitination. This results in the proteasomal degradation of TRAF6.

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