SOCS2-induced proteasome-dependent TRAF6 degradation: a common anti-inflammatory pathway for control of innate immune responses

PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38384. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0038384. Epub 2012 Jun 5.


Pattern recognition receptors and receptors for pro-inflammatory cytokines provide critical signals to drive the development of protective immunity to infection. Therefore, counter-regulatory pathways are required to ensure that overwhelming inflammation harm host tissues. Previously, we showed that lipoxins modulate immune response during infection, restraining inflammation during infectious diseases in an Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)/suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS)2-dependent-manner. Recently, Indoleamine-pyrrole 2,3- dioxygenase (IDO)-derived tryptophan metabolites, including L-kynurenine, were also shown to be involved in several counter-regulatory mechanisms. Herein, we addressed whether the intracellular molecular events induced by lipoxins mediating control of innate immune signaling are part of a common regulatory pathway also shared by L-kynurenine exposure. We demonstrate that Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor (TRAF)6--member of a family of adapter molecules that couple the TNF receptor and interleukin-1 receptor/Toll-like receptor families to intracellular signaling events essential for the development of immune responses--is targeted by both lipoxins and L-kynurenine via an AhR/SOCS2-dependent pathway. Furthermore, we show that LXA₄- and L-kynurenine-induced AhR activation, its subsequent nuclear translocation, leading SOCS2 expression and TRAF6 Lys47-linked poly-ubiquitination and proteosome-mediated degradation of the adapter proteins. The in vitro consequences of such molecular interactions included inhibition of TLR- and cytokine receptor-driven signal transduction and cytokine production. Subsequently, in vivo proteosome inhibition led to unresponsiveness to lipoxins, as well as to uncontrolled pro-inflammatory reactions and elevated mortality during toxoplasmosis. In summary, our results establish proteasome degradation of TRAF6 as a key molecular target for the anti-inflammatory pathway triggered by lipoxins and L-kynurenine, critical counter-regulatory mediators in the innate and adaptive immune systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Immunity, Innate / physiology
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling Proteins / genetics
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling Proteins / metabolism*
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 6 / genetics
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 6 / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Ubiquitination / genetics
  • Ubiquitination / physiology


  • Socs2 protein, mouse
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling Proteins
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 6
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Peptides and Proteins
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex