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The Journal of Biological Chemistry
Year: 2009  |  Volume: 284  |  Issue: 23  |  Page No.: 15750 - 15761

MAPK-activated Protein Kinase 2 Differentially Regulates Plasmodium falciparum Glycosylphosphatidylinositol-induced Production of Tumor Necrosis Factor-{alpha} and Interleukin-12 in Macrophages

J Zhu, X Wu, S Goel, N. M Gowda, S Kumar, G Krishnegowda, G Mishra, R Weinberg, G Li, M Gaestel, T Muta and D. C. Gowda    

Abstract:

Proinflammatory responses induced by Plasmodium falciparum glycosylphosphatidylinositols (GPIs) are thought to be involved in malaria pathogenesis. In this study, we investigated the role of MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2) in the regulation of tumor necrosis factor- (TNF-) and interleukin (IL)-12, two of the major inflammatory cytokines produced by macrophages stimulated with GPIs. We show that MK2 differentially regulates the GPI-induced production of TNF- and IL-12. Although TNF- production was markedly decreased, IL-12 expression was increased by 2–3-fold in GPI-stimulated MK2–/– macrophages compared with wild type (WT) cells. MK2–/– macrophages produced markedly decreased levels of TNF- than WT macrophages mainly because of lower mRNA stability and translation. In the case of IL-12, mRNA was substantially higher in MK2–/– macrophages than WT. This enhanced production is due to increased NF-B binding to the gene promoter, a markedly lower level expression of the transcriptional repressor factor c-Maf, and a decreased binding of GAP-12 to the gene promoter in MK2–/– macrophages. Thus, our data demonstrate for the first time the role of MK2 in the transcriptional regulation of IL-12. Using the protein kinase inhibitors SB203580 and U0126, we also show that the ERK and p38 pathways regulate TNF- and IL-12 production, and that both inhibitors can reduce phosphorylation of MK2 in response to GPIs and other toll-like receptor ligands. These results may have important implications for developing therapeutics for malaria and other infectious diseases.

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