Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is the human pattern recognition receptor that detects lipopolysaccharide (LPS) shared by Gram-negative bacteria. TLR4 is expressed in different cell types including myeloid cells, the key effectors of innate immune reactions. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK 1), the upstream kinase of MAP kinase-dependent apoptotic pathway has recently been found to be selectively required for p38 MAP kinase activation/cytokine production during TLR4 signalling. However, the activity of this enzyme has to be down-regulated to protect the cells against apoptosis. In the present study we have found that inhibition of PI3 kinase by LY294002 in THP-1 cells exposed to LPS attenuated down-regulation of ASK1 activity followed by programmed cell death. In addition, nitric oxide produced in response to exposure of THP-1 cells to LPS was found to S-nitrosate and therefore, down-regulate ASK1 activity
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