The MEK1/2-ERK Pathway Inhibits Type I IFN Production in Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells

Abstract : Recent studies have reported that the crosslinking of regulatory receptors (RRs), such as blood dendritic cell antigen 2 (BDCA-2) (CD303) or ILT7 (CD85g), of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) efficiently suppresses the production of type I interferons (IFN-I, α/β/ω) and other cytokines in response to toll-like receptor 7 and 9 (TLR7/9) ligands. The exact mechanism of how this B cell receptor (BCR)-like signaling blocks TLR7/9-mediated IFN-I production is unknown. Here, we stimulated BCR-like signaling by ligation of RRs with BDCA-2 and ILT7 mAbs, hepatitis C virus particles, or BST2 expressing cells. We compared BCR-like signaling in proliferating pDC cell line GEN2.2 and in primary pDCs from healthy donors, and addressed the question of whether pharmacological targeting of BCR-like signaling can antagonize RR-induced pDC inhibition. To this end, we tested the TLR9-mediated production of IFN-I and proinflammatory cytokines in pDCs exposed to a panel of inhibitors of signaling molecules involved in BCR-like, MAPK, NF-ĸB, and calcium signaling pathways. We found that MEK1/2 inhibitors, PD0325901 and U0126 potentiated TLR9-mediated production of IFN-I in GEN2.2 cells. More importantly, MEK1/2 inhibitors significantly increased the TLR9-mediated IFN-I production blocked in both GEN2.2 cells and primary pDCs upon stimulation of BCR-like or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-induced protein kinase C (PKC) signaling. Triggering of BCR-like and PKC signaling in pDCs resulted in an upregulation of the expression and phoshorylation of c-FOS, a downstream gene product of the MEK1/2-ERK pathway. We found that the total level of c-FOS was higher in proliferating GEN2.2 cells than in the resting primary pDCs. The PD0325901-facilitated restoration of the TLR9-mediated IFN-I production correlated with the abrogation of MEK1/2-ERK-c-FOS signaling. These results indicate that the MEK1/2-ERK pathway inhibits TLR9-mediated type I IFN production in pDCs and that pharmacological targeting of MEK1/2-ERK signaling could be a strategy to overcome immunotolerance of pDCs and re-establish their immunogenic activity.
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V. Janovec, Besma Aouar, Albert Font-Haro, Tomas Hofman, Katerina Trejbalova, et al.. The MEK1/2-ERK Pathway Inhibits Type I IFN Production in Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells. Frontiers in Immunology, Frontiers, 2018, 9, pp.364. ⟨10.3389/fimmu.2018.00364⟩. ⟨hal-01815559⟩

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