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J Immunol. 2013 Oct 1;191(7):3922-30. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1300126. Epub 2013 Aug 30.

Suppression of IL-12 production by tristetraprolin through blocking NF-kcyB nuclear translocation.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Allergy and Immunology, Department of Internal Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63104;


Tristetraprolin (TTP), an mRNA-binding protein, plays a significant role in regulating the expression of adenylate-uridylate-rich elements containing mRNAs. Mice deficient of TTP (TTP(-/-)) develop a systemic autoimmune inflammatory syndrome characterized by cachexia, conjunctivitis, and dermatitis. IL-12 plays a crucial role in immune defense against infectious and malignant diseases. In this study, we found increased production of IL-12 during endotoxic shock and enhanced Th1 cells in TTP knockout mice. The levels of IL-12 p70 and p40 protein as well as p40 and p35 mRNA were also increased in activated macrophages deficient of TTP. In line with these findings, overexpression of TTP suppressed IL-12 p35 and p40 expression at the mRNA and promoter level, whereas it surprisingly had little effects on their mRNA stability. Our data showed that the inhibitory effects of TTP on p35 gene transcription were completely rescued by overexpression of NF-кB p65 and c-Rel but not by the p50 in activated macrophages. Our data further indicated that TTP acquired its inhibition on IL-12 expression through blocking nuclear translocation of NF-кB p65 and c-Rel while enhancing p50 upon stimulation. In summary, our study reveals a novel pathway through which TTP suppresses IL-12 production in macrophages, resulting in suppression of Th1 cell differentiation. This study may provide us with therapeutic targets for treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

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