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J Immunol. 2011 Nov 1;187(9):4881-9. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1003806. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

CMRF-35-like molecule 3 preferentially promotes TLR9-triggered proinflammatory cytokine production in macrophages by enhancing TNF receptor-associated factor 6 ubiquitination.

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National Key Laboratory of Medical Immunology and Institute of Immunology, Second Military Medical University, Shanghai 200433, China.


TLRs are critical innate immune sensors in the induction of proinflammatory cytokines to eliminate invading pathogens. However, the mechanisms for the full activation of TLR-triggered innate immune response need to be fully understood. The murine CMRF-35-like molecule (CLM)-3 is a representative of CLM family belonging to the Ig superfamily. Considering that CLM-3 is selectively expressed in macrophages and the roles of CLM members in innate immune response remain unclear, in this study we investigated the role of CLM-3 in the regulation of TLR-triggered innate response. We found that CLM-3 was an endosome/lysosome-localized molecule, and was downregulated in macrophages by stimulation with TLR9 ligand, but not TLR4 and TLR3 ligands. Interestingly, CLM-3 selectively promoted production of TNF-α and IL-6 in macrophages triggered by TLR9, but not TLR4 or TLR3. CLM-3 enhanced activation of MAPKs and NF-κB pathways in TLR9-triggered macrophages. Furthermore, CLM-3-transgenic mice were generated, and CLM-3 expression was confirmed by mAb against CLM-3 that we prepared. Accordingly, the macrophages derived from CLM-3-transgenic mice were more sensitive to TLR9 ligand stimulation, with more pronounced production of TNF-α, IL-6, and increased activation of MAPKs and NF-κB pathways. Moreover, ubiquitination of TNFR-associated factor 6, a crucial signaling transducer of TLR-triggered MAPKs and NF-κB activation, was found to be significantly promoted by CLM-3 in macrophages. Collectively, the endosome/lysosome-localized CLM-3 can promote full activation of TLR9-triggered innate responses by enhancing TNFR-associated factor 6 ubiquitination and subsequently activating MAPKs and NF-κB.

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