Tristetraprolin regulation of interleukin-22 production

Abstract

Interleukin (IL)-22 is a STAT3-activating cytokine displaying characteristic AU-rich elements (ARE) in the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) of its mRNA. This architecture suggests gene regulation by modulation of mRNA stability. Since related cytokines undergo post-transcriptional regulation by ARE-binding tristetraprolin (TTP), the role of this destabilizing protein in IL-22 production was investigated. Herein, we demonstrate that TTP-deficient mice display augmented serum IL-22. Likewise, IL-22 mRNA was enhanced in TTP-deficient splenocytes and isolated primary T cells. A pivotal role for TTP is underscored by an extended IL-22 mRNA half-life detectable in TTP-deficient T cells. Luciferase-reporter assays performed in human Jurkat T cells proved the destabilizing potential of the human IL-22-3'-UTR. Furthermore, overexpression of TTP in HEK293 cells substantially decreased luciferase activity directed by the IL-22-3'-UTR. Transcript destabilization by TTP was nullified upon cellular activation by TPA/A23187, an effect dependent on MEK1/2 activity. Accordingly, IL-22 mRNA half-life as determined in TPA/A23187-stimulated Jurkat T cells decreased under the influence of the MEK1/2 inhibitor U0126. Altogether, data indicate that TTP directly controls IL-22 production, a process counteracted by MEK1/2. The TTP-dependent regulatory pathway described herein likely contributes to the role of IL-22 in inflammation and cancer and may evolve as novel target for pharmacological IL-22 modulation

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