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Mol Cell Biol. 2014 Feb;34(3):325-34. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00912-13. Epub 2013 Nov 18.

Role of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II-IRAK1 interaction in LMP1-induced NF-κB activation.

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Department of Life Science, Gachon University, Seongnam-Si, Kyeonggi-Do, South Korea.


We have previously reported that interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor-associated kinase (IRAK1) is essential for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent infection membrane protein 1 (LMP1)-induced p65/RelA serine 536 phosphorylation and NF-κB activation but not for IκB kinase α (IKKα) or IKKβ activation (Y. J. Song, K. Y. Jen, V. Soni, E. Kieff, and E. Cahir-McFarland, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 103:2689-2694, 2006, doi:10.1073/pnas.0511096103). Since the kinase activity of IRAK1 is not required for LMP1-induced NF-κB activation, IRAK1 is proposed to function as a scaffold protein to recruit a p65/RelA serine 536 kinase(s) to enhance NF-κB-dependent transcriptional activity. We now report that Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) interacts with IRAK1 and is critical for LMP1-induced p65/RelA serine 536 phosphorylation and NF-κB activation. CaMKII bound the death domain of IRAK1 and directly phosphorylated p65/RelA at serine 536 in vitro. Downregulation of CaMKII activity or expression significantly reduced LMP1-induced p65/RelA serine 536 phosphorylation and NF-κB activation. Furthermore, LMP1-induced CaMKII activation and p65/RelA serine 536 phosphorylation were significantly reduced in IRAK1 knockout (KO) mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). Thus, IRAK1 may recruit and activate CaMKII, which phosphorylates p65/RelA serine 536 to enhance the transactivation potential of NF-κB in LMP1-induced NF-κB activation pathway.

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