Cellular FLIP long isoform (cFLIPl)-IKKα interactions inhibit IRF7 activation, representing a new cellular strategy to inhibit IFNα expression

Lauren T. Gates-Tanzer, Joanna L. Shisler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Interferon α (IFNα) is important for antiviral and anticancer defenses. However, overproduction is associated with autoimmune disorders. Thus, the cell must precisely up- and downregulate IFNα to achieve immune system homeostasis. The cellular FLICE-like inhibitory protein (cFLIP) is reported to inhibit IFNα production. However, the mechanism for this antagonism remained unknown. The goal here was to identify this mechanism. Here we examined the signal transduction events that occur during TLR9-induced IRF7 activation. The cFLIP long isoform (cFLIPL) inhibited the expression of IRF7-controlled natural or synthetic genes in several cell lines, including those with abundant IRF7 protein levels (e.g. dendritic cells). cFLIPL inhibited IRF7 phosphorylation; however, cFLIPL-IRF7 interactions were not detectable, implying that cFLIPL acted upstream of IRF7 dimerization. Interestingly, cFLIPL co-immunoprecipitated with IKKα, and these interactions correlated with a loss of IKKα-IRF7 interactions. Thus, cFLIP appears to bind to IKKα to prevent IKKα from phosphorylating and activating IRF7. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a cellular protein that uses this approach to inhibit IRF7 activation. Perhaps this cFLIP property could be engineered to minimize the deleterious effects of IFNα expression that occur during certain autoimmune disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1745-1755
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume293
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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