ECSIT (evolutionarily conserved signaling intermediate in Toll pathways) is known as a multifunctional regulator in different signals, including Toll-like receptors (TLRs), TGF-β, and BMP. Here, we report a new regulatory role of ECSIT in TLR4-mediated signal. By LPS stimulation, ECSIT formed a high molecular endogenous complex including TAK1 and TRAF6, in which ECSIT interacted with each protein and regulated TAK1 activity, leading to the activation of NF-κB. ECSIT-knockdown THP-1 (ECSIT(KD) THP-1) cells exhibited severe impairments in NF-κB activity, cytokine production, and NF-κB-dependent gene expression, whereas those were dramatically restored by reintroduction of wild type (WT) ECSIT gene. Interestingly, ECSIT mutants, which lack a specific interacting domain for either TAK1 or TRAF6, could not restore these activities. Moreover, no significant changes in both NF-κB activity and cytokine production induced by TLR4 could be seen in TAK1(KD) or TRAF6(KD) THP-1 cells transduced by WT ECSIT, strongly suggesting the essential requirement of TAK1-ECSIT-TRAF6 complex in TLR4 signaling. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the ECSIT complex, including TAK1 and TRAF6, plays a pivotal role in TLR4-mediated signals to activate NF-κB.
Keywords: Cytokine; ECSIT; Inflammation; Innate Immunity; NF-kappaB; Signal Transduction; TNF Receptor-associated Factor 6; Toll-like Receptors; Transforming Growth Factor-β-activated Kinase 1.
© 2014 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.