Autocrine or paracrine signaling by beta interferon (IFN-β) is essential for many of the responses of macrophages to pathogen-associated molecular patterns. This feedback loop contributes to pathological responses to infectious agents and is therefore tightly regulated. We demonstrate here that macrophage expression of IFN-β is negatively regulated by mitogen- and stress-activated kinases 1 and 2 (MSK1/2). Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced expression of IFN-β was elevated in both MSK1/2 knockout mice and macrophages. Although MSK1 and -2 promote the expression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin 10, it did not strongly contribute to the ability of MSKs to regulate IFN-β expression. Instead, MSK1 and -2 inhibit IFN-β expression via the induction of dual-specificity phosphatase 1 (DUSP1), which dephosphorylates and inactivates the mitogen-activated protein kinases p38 and Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK). Prolonged LPS-induced activation of p38 and JNK, phosphorylation of downstream transcription factors, and overexpression of IFN-β mRNA and protein were similar in MSK1/2 and DUSP1 knockout macrophages. Two distinct mechanisms were implicated in the overexpression of IFN-β: first, JNKmediated activation of c-jun, which binds to the IFN-β promoter, and second, p38-mediated inactivation of the mRNA-destabilizing factor tristetraprolin, which we show is able to target the IFN-β mRNA.
Bibliographical noteCopyright © 2016 McGuire et al.
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- Beta interferon
- P38 kinases