Dectin-1 functions as a pattern recognition receptor for sensing fungal infection. It has been well-established that Dectin-1 induces innate immune responses through caspase recruitment domain-containing protein 9 (CARD9)-mediated NF-κB activation. In this study, we find that CARD9 is dispensable for NF-κB activation induced by Dectin-1 ligands, such as curdlan or Candida albicans yeast. In contrast, we find that CARD9 regulates H-Ras activation by linking Ras-GRF1 to H-Ras, which mediates Dectin-1-induced extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) activation and proinflammatory responses when stimulated by their ligands. Mechanistically, Dectin-1 engagement initiates spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk)-dependent Ras-GRF1 phosphorylation, and the phosphorylated Ras-GRF1 recruits and activates H-Ras through forming a complex with CARD9, which leads to activation of ERK downstream. Finally, we show that inhibiting ERK activation significantly accelerates the death of C. albicans-infected mice, and this inhibitory effect is dependent on CARD9. Together, our studies reveal a molecular mechanism by which Dectin-1 induces H-Ras activation that leads to ERK activation for host innate immune responses against fungal infection.
© 2014 Jia et al.