Candida albicans induces selectively transcriptional activation of cyclooxygenase-2 in HeLa cells: pivotal roles of Toll-like receptors, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and NF-kappa B

Rupal Deva, Pattabhiraman Shankaranarayanan, Roberto Ciccoli, Santosh Nigam
Journal of Immunology 2003 September 15, 171 (6): 3047-55
Candidiasis, in its mucocutaneous form as well as in an invasive form, is frequently associated with high morbidity. PGE(2), which is generated by enzymatic activity of cyclooxygenases (COXs) 1 and 2, has been shown to trigger morphogenesis in Candida albicans. In the present study, we investigated whether C. albicans altered COX-2 expression in HeLa cells. RT-PCR and Western blot analyses revealed a time-dependent biphasic behavior of COX-2 mRNA expression and COX-2 protein level. COX-1 protein remained unaffected. Neutralization with Abs against Toll-like receptors (TLR) 2 and 4 inhibited the Candida-induced production of PGE(2), suggesting a vital role for TLRs in the recognition and signaling in mammalian cells upon infection with C. albicans. Transient transfections with COX-2 promoter-luciferase construct and various inhibitors of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), such as protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor GF203190X, p38(MAPK) inhibitor SB203109, and extracellular-regulated kinases 1 and 2 inhibitor PD98509 showed that C. albicans up-regulates selectively COX-2, but not COX-1, through p38(MAPK) and PKC pathways. No involvement of other stress kinases, e.g., c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase and extracellular-regulated kinases 1 and 2, was observed. Transient transfection of NF-kappaB promoter construct and dominant negative plasmid of IkappaBbeta kinase showed that COX-2 transcription is mediated through p38(MAPK) and NF-kappaB pathways. That NF-kappaB up-regulates p38(MAPK) is novel and is in contradiction to earlier reports in which NF-kappaB was shown to inhibit p38(MAPK). In conclusion, multiple converging signaling pathways, involving TLRs followed by PKC, p38(MAPK), and/or NF-kappaB, are triggered by C. albicans in activation of COX-2 gene.

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