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J Biol Chem. 2018 Feb 2;293(5):1745-1755. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA117.000541. Epub 2017 Dec 8.

Cellular FLIP long isoform (cFLIPL)-IKKα interactions inhibit IRF7 activation, representing a new cellular strategy to inhibit IFNα expression.

Author information

1
From the Department of Microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801.
2
From the Department of Microbiology, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801 jshisler@illinois.edu.

Abstract

Interferon α (IFNα) is important for antiviral and anticancer defenses. However, overproduction is associated with autoimmune disorders. Thus, the cell must precisely up- and down-regulate IFNα to achieve immune system homeostasis. The cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein (cFLIP) is reported to inhibit IFNα production. However, the mechanism for this antagonism remained unknown. The goal here was to identify this mechanism. Here we examined the signal transduction events that occur during TLR9-induced IRF7 activation. The cFLIP long isoform (cFLIPL) inhibited the expression of IRF7-controlled natural or synthetic genes in several cell lines, including those with abundant IRF7 protein levels (e.g. dendritic cells). cFLIPL inhibited IRF7 phosphorylation; however, cFLIPL-IRF7 interactions were not detectable, implying that cFLIPL acted upstream of IRF7 dimerization. Interestingly, cFLIPL co-immunoprecipitated with IKKα, and these interactions correlated with a loss of IKKα-IRF7 interactions. Thus, cFLIP appears to bind to IKKα to prevent IKKα from phosphorylating and activating IRF7. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a cellular protein that uses this approach to inhibit IRF7 activation. Perhaps this cFLIP property could be engineered to minimize the deleterious effects of IFNα expression that occur during certain autoimmune disorders.

KEYWORDS:

IFNα; IKKα; IRF7; TLR9; cFLIPL

PMID:
29222334
PMCID:
PMC5798304
DOI:
10.1074/jbc.RA117.000541
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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