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EMBO J. 2013 Mar 20;32(6):816-28. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2013.28. Epub 2013 Feb 19.

I kappa B kinase alpha (IKKα) activity is required for functional maturation of dendritic cells and acquired immunity to infection.

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Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy (CIML), Aix-Marseille Université, UM2, Marseille, France.


Dendritic cells (DC) are required for priming antigen-specific T cells and acquired immunity to many important human pathogens, including Mycobacteriuim tuberculosis (TB) and influenza. However, inappropriate priming of auto-reactive T cells is linked with autoimmune disease. Understanding the molecular mechanisms that regulate the priming and activation of naïve T cells is critical for development of new improved vaccines and understanding the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases. The serine/threonine kinase IKKα (CHUK) has previously been shown to have anti-inflammatory activity and inhibit innate immunity. Here, we show that IKKα is required in DC for priming antigen-specific T cells and acquired immunity to the human pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. We describe a new role for IKKα in regulation of IRF3 activity and the functional maturation of DC. This presents a unique role for IKKα in dampening inflammation while simultaneously promoting adaptive immunity that could have important implications for the development of new vaccine adjuvants and treatment of autoimmune diseases.

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