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      Streptococcus pneumoniae induced c-Jun-N-terminal kinase- and AP-1 -dependent IL-8 release by lung epithelial BEAS-2B cells


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          Although pneumococcal pneumonia is one of the most common causes of death due to infectious diseases, little is known about pneumococci-lung cell interaction. Herein we tested the hypothesis that pneumococci activated pulmonary epithelial cell cytokine release by c-Jun-NH 2-terminal kinase (JNK)


          Human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) or epithelial HEK293 cells were infected with S. pneumoniae R6x and cytokine induction was measured by RT-PCR, ELISA and Bioplex assay. JNK-phosphorylation was detected by Western blot and nuclear signaling was assessed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP). JNK was modulated by the small molecule inhibitor SP600125 and AP1 by transfection of a dominant negative mutant.


          S. pneumoniae induced the release of distinct CC and CXC, as well as Th1 and Th2 cytokines and growth factors by human lung epithelial cell line BEAS-2B. Furthermore, pneumococci infection resulted in JNK phosphorylation in BEAS-2B cells. Inhibition of JNK by small molecule inhibitor SP600125 reduced pneumococci-induced IL-8 mRNA expression and release of IL-8 and IL-6. One regulator of the il8 promoter is JNK-phosphorylated activator protein 1 (AP-1). We showed that S. pneumoniae time-dependently induced DNA binding of AP-1 and its phosphorylated subunit c-Jun with a maximum at 3 to 5 h after infection. Recruitment of Ser 63/73-phosphorylated c-Jun and RNA polymerase II to the endogenous il8 promoter was found 2 h after S. pneumoniae infection by chromatin immunoprecipitation. AP-1 repressor A-Fos reduced IL-8 release by TLR2-overexpressing HEK293 cells induced by pneumococci but not by TNFα. Antisense-constructs targeting the AP-1 subunits Fra1 and Fra2 had no inhibitory effect on pneumococci-induced IL-8 release.


          S. pneumoniae-induced IL-8 expression by human epithelial BEAS-2B cells depended on activation of JNK and recruitment of phosphorylated c-Jun to the il8 promoter.

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          AP-1: a double-edged sword in tumorigenesis.

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            Identification of an oncoprotein- and UV-responsive protein kinase that binds and potentiates the c-Jun activation domain.

            The activity of c-Jun is regulated by phosphorylation. Various stimuli including transforming oncogenes and UV light, induce phosphorylation of serines 63 and 73 in the amino-terminal activation domain of c-Jun and thereby potentiate its trans-activation function. We identified a serine/threonine kinase whose activity is stimulated by the same signals that stimulate the amino-terminal phosphorylation of c-Jun. This novel c-Jun amino-terminal kinase (JNK), whose major form is 46 kD, binds to a specific region within the c-Jun trans-activation domain and phosphorylates serines 63 and 73. Phosphorylation results in dissociation of the c-Jun-JNK complex. Mutations that disrupt the kinase-binding site attenuate the response of c-Jun to Ha-Ras and UV. Therefore the binding of JNK to c-Jun is of regulatory importance and suggests a mechanism through which protein kinase cascades can specifically modulate the activity of distinct nuclear targets.
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              Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Staphylococcus aureus activates immune cells via Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (LBP), and CD14, whereas TLR-4 and MD-2 are not involved.

              Lipoteichoic acid (LTA) derived from Streptococcus pneumoniae, purified employing a chloroform/methanol protocol, and from Staphylococcus aureus, prepared by the recently described butanol extraction procedure, was investigated regarding its interaction with lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-binding protein (LBP), CD14, Toll-like receptors (TLRs)-2 and -4, and MD-2. LTA from both organisms induced cytokine synthesis in human mononuclear phagocytes. Activation was LBP- and CD14-dependent, and formation of complexes of LTA with LBP and soluble CD14 as well as catalytic transfer of LTA to CD14 by LBP was verified by PhastGel(TM) native gel electrophoresis. Human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293/CD14 cells and Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells were responsive to LTA only after transfection with TLR-2. Additional transfection with MD-2 did not affect stimulation of these cells by LTA. Our data suggest that innate immune recognition of LTA via LBP, CD14, and TLR-2 represents an important mechanism in the pathogenesis of systemic complications in the course of infectious diseases brought about by the clinically most important Gram-positive pathogens. However, the involvement of TLR-4 and MD-2 in this process was ruled out.

                Author and article information

                Respir Res
                Respiratory Research
                BioMed Central
                12 July 2006
                : 7
                : 1
                : 98
                [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine/Infectious Diseases and Respiratory Medicine, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 13353 Berlin, Germany
                [2 ]Department of Peridontology and Synoptic Dentistry, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 13353 Berlin, Germany
                Copyright © 2006 Schmeck et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                : 30 December 2005
                : 12 July 2006

                Respiratory medicine
                Respiratory medicine


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