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Bmx tyrosine kinase regulates TLR4-induced IL-6 production in human macrophages independently of p38 MAPK and NFκB activity

Christine D. Palmer, Brenda E. Mutch, Sarita Workman, John P. McDaid, Nicole J. Horwood and Brian M. J. Foxwell

Abstract

Chronic inflammation, as seen in conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn disease, is in part driven by discordant production of inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Tyrosine kinase activity is essential to lipopolysaccharide-induced cytokine production in monocytes, and previous studies by us and others have implicated a role for the Tec kinase Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) in inflammatory cytokine production. Here we show that knockdown of Btk using RNA interference results in decreased tumor necrosis factor-α, but not IL-6 production. Further investigations into the signaling mechanisms regulating IL-6 production led to the discovery that the Tec kinase bone marrow tyrosine kinase gene in chromosome X (Bmx) regulates Toll-like receptor-induced IL-6 production. Our data further showed that Bmx-dependent super-induction of IL-6 does not involve nuclear factor–κB activity. More detailed investigations of pathways downstream of Bmx signaling revealed that Bmx targets the IL-6 3′ untranslated region to increase mRNA stabilization via a novel, thus far undefined, p38 mitogen activated protein kinase-independent pathway. These data have important implications for the design of therapeutics targeted against specific cytokines and their regulators in inflammatory disease.

  • Submitted July 23, 2007.
  • Accepted October 21, 2007.
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