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Am J Pathol. 2004 Oct;165(4):1423-31.

FLICE-like inhibitory protein (FLIP) protects against apoptosis and suppresses NF-kappaB activation induced by bacterial lipopolysaccharide.

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Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service/Animal and Natural Resources Institute, Beltsville Agricultural Research Center-East, Bldg. 1040, Room 2, Beltsville, MD 20705-2350, USA.


Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) via its activation of Toll-like receptor-4 contributes to much of the vascular injury/dysfunction associated with gram-negative sepsis. Inhibition of de novo gene expression has been shown to sensitize endothelial cells (EC) to LPS-induced apoptosis, the onset of which correlates with decreased expression of FLICE-like inhibitory protein (FLIP). We now have data that conclusively establish a role for FLIP in protecting EC against LPS-induced apoptosis. Overexpression of FLIP protected against LPS-induced apoptosis, whereas down-regulation of FLIP using antisense oligonucleotides sensitized EC to direct LPS killing. Interestingly, FLIP overexpression suppressed NF-kappaB activation induced by LPS, but not by phorbol ester, suggesting a specific role for FLIP in mediating LPS activation. Conversely, mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEF) obtained from FLIP -/- mice showed enhanced LPS-induced NF-kappaB activation relative to those obtained from wild-type mice. Reconstitution of FLIP-/- MEF with full-length FLIP reversed the enhanced NF-kappaB activity elicited by LPS in the FLIP -/- cells. Changes in the expression of FLIP had no demonstrable effect on other known LPS/Tlr-4-activated signaling pathways including the p38, Akt, and Jnk pathways. Together, these data support a dual role for FLIP in mediating LPS-induced apoptosis and NF-kappaB activation.

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