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J Leukoc Biol. 2004 Apr;75(4):689-97. Epub 2004 Jan 23.

Activation of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and c-Jun-N-terminal kinase cascades enhances NF-kappaB-dependent gene transcription in BCG-stimulated macrophages through promotion of p65/p300 binding.

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Laboratóire de Biologia do Reconhecer, Universisade Estadual do Norte Fluminense, Campos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The proinflammatory response of infected macrophages is an important early host defense mechanism against mycobacterial infection. Mycobacteria have been demonstrated to induce proinflammatory gene transcription through the Toll-like receptors, (TLR)2 and TLR 4, which initiate signaling cascades leading to nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB activation. The main transduction pathway responsible for NF-kappaB activation has been established and involves the MyD88, interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase, tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor-6, NF-kappaB-inducing kinase, and inhibitor of kappaB kinase complex. The role of other kinase cascades triggered by mycobacteria in the NF-kappaB activation is less clear. We herein examine the role of the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI-3K) cascades in the expression of the bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) mycobacteria-induced NF-kappaB-dependent genes, macrophage-inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2) and inducible nitric oxide (NO) synthase. Specific pharmacological inhibition of the PI-3K, c-jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK), and to a smaller extent, p38 MAPK but not extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK), suppressed NF-kappaB-dependent reporter gene transcription and MIP-2 and NO secretion in BCG-induced RAW264.7 macrophages. A similar effect was obtained following molecular inhibition of JNK via JNK-interacting protein-1 overexpression. In addition, a kinase-dead mutant of MEK kinase-1, the up-stream regulator of JNK, also proved to be a potent inhibitor of NF-kappaB-reporter activity. The effect of inhibitors was mediated by the down-regulation of NF-kappaB transcription activity and without effecting its nuclear translocation. These data suggest an indirect mechanism of the NF-kappaB regulation by these kinases, probably through p65 phosphorylation and improved binding to the p300 transcription coactivator. The data obtained demonstrate that PI-3K, JNK, and p38 MAPK activation by mycobacteria enhance NF-kappaB-driven gene expression contributing to the proinflammatory macrophage response.

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