Role of apoptosis-regulating signal kinase 1 in innate immune responses by Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin

Jae-Min Yuk, Dong-Min Shin, Chul-Su Yang, Ki Hye Kim, Se-Jin An, Jaerang Rho, Jeong-Kyu Park, Eun-Kyeong Jo
Immunology and Cell Biology 2009, 87 (1): 100-7
Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) induces innate immune responses through Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 and TLR4. We investigated the role of apoptosis-regulating signal kinase (ASK) 1 in reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated innate immune responses induced by BCG mycobacterial infection. In macrophages, M. bovis BCG stimulation resulted in rapid activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), secretion of inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and interleukin (IL)-6, and ROS generation in a TLR2- and TLR4-dependent manner. M. bovis BCG-induced ROS production led to robust activation of ASK1 upstream of the c-jun-N-terminal kinase and p38 MAPK, but not extracellular-regulated kinase 1/2. Blocking ASK1 activity markedly attenuated M. bovis BCG-induced TNF-alpha and IL-6 production by macrophages. Both TLR2 and TLR4 were required for optimal activation of ASK1 in response to M. bovis BCG. Furthermore, we present evidence that TNF receptor-associated factor (TRAF) 6 activities were essential for ROS-mediated ASK1 activation by M. bovis BCG. Finally, ASK1 activities were required for effective control of intracellular mycobacterial survival. Thus, the results of this study suggest a novel role of the TLR-ROS-TRAF6-ASK1 axis in the innate immune response to mycobacteria as a signaling intermediate.

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