Activation of aryl hydrocarbon receptor regulates the LPS/IFNγ-induced inflammatory response by inducing ubiquitin-proteosomal and lysosomal degradation of RelA/p65

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Abstract

Several studies have identified the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) as a negative regulator of the innate and adaptive immune responses. However, the molecular mechanisms by which this transcription factor exerts such modulatory effects are not well understood. Interaction between AhR and RelA/p65 has previously been reported. RelA/p65 is the major NFκB subunit that plays a critical role in immune responses to infection. The aim of the present study was to determine whether the activation of AhR disrupted RelA/p65 signaling in mouse peritoneal macrophages by decreasing its half-life. The data demonstrate that the activation of AhR by TCDD and β-naphthoflavone (β-NF) decreased protein levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-12 after macrophage activation with LPS/IFNγ. In an AhR-dependent manner, TCDD treatment induces RelA/p65 ubiquitination and proteosomal degradation, an effect dependent on AhR transcriptional activity. Activation of AhR also induced lysosome-like membrane structure formation in mouse peritoneal macrophages and RelA/p65 lysosome-dependent degradation. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that AhR activation promotes RelA/p65 protein degradation through the ubiquitin proteasome system, as well as through the lysosomes, resulting in decreased pro-inflammatory cytokine levels in mouse peritoneal macrophages.

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