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Eur J Immunol. 1996 Oct;26(10):2417-24.

Transcriptional and translational control of TNF-alpha gene expression in human monocytes by major histocompatibility complex class II ligands.

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Department of Medicine, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland.


While non-stimulated primary human monocytes exhibit very low levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha mRNA, direct binding of the staphylococcal exotoxin toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules results in a fast (peak 1 h after stimulation), transient induction (sevenfold) of TNF-alpha mRNA. This induction correlates with a fourfold increase in transcription rates of the TNF-alpha gene, as detected by run-on assays, and does not require de novo protein synthesis. Mapping of DNase-I hypersensitive sites (DHS) discloses two constitutive DHS, one located far upstream (within the TNF-beta promoter) and the other centered at -39 +/- 40 bp relative to the major TNF-alpha transcription start site, suggesting that the TNF-alpha gene was transcriptionally competent even prior to MHC class II engagement. Furthermore, stimulation of human monocytes with either TSST-1 or lipopolysaccharide increases the translational efficiency of TNF-alpha mRNA, as shown by a shift in the distribution of this mRNA species in polysome gradients and the translation rates of TNF-alpha measured by immunoprecipitation from cells pulsed with [35S] methionine. The increase in translation efficiency of TNF-alpha mRNA is independent of the half-life of TNF-alpha transcripts, which under the conditions used is unchanged. Taken together, our data indicate that TNF-alpha expression is tightly regulated by MHC class II ligands, both at the transcriptional and translational levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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