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J Exp Med. 2007 May 14;204(5):1013-24. Epub 2007 May 7.

Essential role of IRAK-4 protein and its kinase activity in Toll-like receptor-mediated immune responses but not in TCR signaling.

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Department of Host Defense, Research Institute for Microbial Diseases, Osaka University, Suita, Osaka, Japan.


Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4 (IRAK-4) was reported to be essential for the Toll-like receptor (TLR)- and T cell receptor (TCR)-mediated signaling leading to the activation of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB). However, the importance of kinase activity of IRAK family members is unclear. In this study, we investigated the functional role of IRAK-4 activity in vivo by generating mice carrying a knockin mutation (KK213AA) that abrogates its kinase activity. IRAK-4(KN/KN) mice were highly resistant to TLR-induced shock response. The cytokine production in response to TLR ligands was severely impaired in IRAK-4(KN/KN) as well as IRAK-4(-/-) macrophages. The IRAK-4 activity was essential for the activation of signaling pathways leading to mitogen-activated protein kinases. TLR-induced IRAK-4/IRAK-1-dependent and -independent pathways were involved in early induction of NF-kappaB-regulated genes in response to TLR ligands such as tumor necrosis factor alpha and IkappaBzeta. In contrast to a previous paper (Suzuki, N., S. Suzuki, D.G. Millar, M. Unno, H. Hara, T. Calzascia, S. Yamasaki, T. Yokosuka, N.J. Chen, A.R. Elford, et al. 2006. Science. 311:1927-1932), the TCR signaling was not impaired in IRAK-4(-/-) and IRAK-4(KN/KN) mice. Thus, the kinase activity of IRAK-4 is essential for the regulation of TLR-mediated innate immune responses.

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