Human Rhinovirus-Induced Epithelial Production of CXCL10 Is Dependent upon IFN Regulatory Factor-1

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Human rhinovirus (HRV) infections are associated with exacerbations of lower-airway diseases. HRV-induced production of proinflammatory chemokines, such as CXCL10, from infected airway epithelial cells may play a role in the pathogenesis of exacerbations. We have previously shown that the MAP/ERK kinase (MEK) pathway selectively down-regulates HRV-16-induced epithelial production of CXCL10 by modulating nuclear translocation and/or binding of IFN regulatory factor (IRF)-1 with the CXCL10 promoter. Using primary human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEs) and the BEAS-2B bronchial epithelial cell line, we have further evaluated the role of IRF-1 in HRV-16-induced epithelial CXCL10 production. We demonstrate that HRV-16 induced the expression of both IRF-1 mRNA and protein in a time-dependent manner. Interestingly, MEK1 pathway inhibition with PD98059 or U0126 significantly enhanced HRV-16-induced IRF-1 mRNA levels in BEAS-2B cells and HBEs, although IRF-1 protein expression was only enhanced in HBEs. Using short interfering RNA (siRNA), we both inhibited HRV-16-induced IRF-1 expression and reduced nuclear translocation and/or binding of IRF-1 to the CXCL10 promoter. Knockdown of IRF-1 also led to a significant reduction in HRV-16-induced CXCL10 production, confirming that IRF-1 is directly involved in HRV-16-induced CXCL10 expression in epithelial cells. Moreover, pronounced IRF-1 knockdown abrogated the enhancement of CXCL10 normally induced by inhibitors of the MEK1 pathway. Phosphatase experiments indicate that IRF-1 binding to the CXCL10 promoter is not dependent upon its phosphorylation state. We conclude that HRV-16-induced CXCL10 production is dependent upon IRF-1, and that the MEK1 pathway-dependent suppression of CXCL10 expression is also mediated via effects on IRF-1.

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