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Cell Signal. 2013 Jun;25(6):1447-56. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2013.03.007. Epub 2013 Mar 27.

Interleukin-18 enhances IL-18R/Nox1 binding, and mediates TRAF3IP2-dependent smooth muscle cell migration. Inhibition by simvastatin.

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Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center and South Texas Veterans Health Care System, San Antonio, TX 78229, United States.


We investigated the role of TRAF3 interacting protein 2 (TRAF3IP2), a redox-sensitive adapter protein and an upstream regulator of IKK and JNK in interleukin (IL)-18 induced smooth muscle cell migration, and the mechanism of its inhibition by simvastatin. The pleiotropic cytokine IL-18 induced human coronary artery SMC migration through the induction of TRAF3IP2. IL-18 induced Nox1-dependent ROS generation, TRAF3IP2 expression, and IKK/NF-κB and JNK/AP-1 activation. IL-18 induced its own expression and that of its receptor subunit IL-18Rα. Using co-IP/IB and GST pull-down assays, we show for the first time that the subunits of the IL-18R heterodimer physically associate with Nox1 under basal conditions, and IL-18 appears to enhance their binding. Importantly, the HMG-coA reductase inhibitor simvastatin attenuated IL-18-induced TRAF3IP2 induction. These inhibitory effects were reversed by mevalonate and geranylgeranylpyrophosphate (GGPP), but not by farnesylpyrophosphate (FPP). Interestingly, simvastatin, GGPP, FPP, or Rac1 inhibition did not modulate ectopically expressed TRAF3IP2. These results demonstrate that the promigratory effects of IL-18 are mediated through TRAF3IP2 in a redox-sensitive manner, and this may involve IL-18R/Nox1 physical association. Further, Simvastatin inhibits inducible, but not ectopically-xpressed TRAF3IP2. Targeting TRAF3IP2 may blunt progression of hyperplastic vascular diseases in vivo.

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