Beta-arrestins are scaffolding proteins implicated as negative regulators of TLR4 signaling in macrophages and fibroblasts. Unexpectedly, we found that beta-arrestin-1 (beta-arr-1) and -2 knockout (KO) mice are protected from TLR4-mediated endotoxic shock and lethality. To identify the potential mechanisms involved, we examined the plasma levels of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines in the wild-type (WT) and beta-arr-1 and -2 KO mice after lipopolysaccharide (LPS, a TLR4 ligand) injection. Consistent with lethality, LPS-induced inflammatory cytokine levels in the plasma were markedly decreased in both beta-arr-1 and -2 KO, compared to WT mice. To further explore the cellular mechanisms, we obtained splenocytes (separated into CD11(b+) and CD11(b-) populations) from WT, beta-arr-1, and -2 KO mice and examined the effect of LPS on cytokine production. Similar to the in vivo observations, LPS-induced inflammatory cytokines were significantly blocked in both splenocyte populations from the beta-arr-2 KO compared to the WT mice. This effect in the beta-arr-1 KO mice, however, was restricted to the CD11(b-) splenocytes. Our studies further indicate that regulation of cytokine production by beta-arrestins is likely independent of MAPK and IkappaBalpha-NFkappaB pathways. Our results, however, suggest that LPS-induced chromatin modification is dependent on beta-arrestin levels and may be the underlying mechanistic basis for regulation of cytokine levels by beta-arrestins in vivo. Taken together, these results indicate that beta-arr-1 and -2 mediate LPS-induced cytokine secretion in a cell-type specific manner and that both beta-arrestins have overlapping but non-redundant roles in regulating inflammatory cytokine production and endotoxic shock in mice.
(c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.