The E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF144B is LPS-inducible in human, but not mouse, macrophages and promotes inducible IL-1β expression

J Leukoc Biol. 2016 Jul;100(1):155-61. doi: 10.1189/jlb.2AB0815-339R. Epub 2016 Jan 27.


Differences in human and mouse immune responses may partly reflect species-specific adaptations and can provide important insights into human immunity. In this study, we show that RNF144B, which encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase, was lipopolysaccharide-inducible in primary human macrophages and in human macrophage-like THP-1 cells. In contrast, Rnf144b was not lipopolysaccharide-inducible in several mouse cell populations, including primary macrophages from C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice and RAW264.7 macrophages. Similarly, Rnf144b was not up-regulated by infection of C57BL/6 mice with Escherichia coli Although the human and mouse RNF144B genes have conserved transcription start sites, cap analysis of gene expression data confirmed that the RNF144B promoter directs transcription in human but not mouse macrophages. The human and mouse RNF144B genes are controlled by highly conserved TATA-containing promoters, but subtle differences in transcription factor binding sites may account for differential regulation. Using gene silencing, we showed that RNF144B is necessary for priming of inflammasome responses in primary human macrophages. Specifically, RNF144B promotes lipopolysaccharide-inducible IL-1b mRNA expression but does not regulate expression of several other lipopolysaccharide-inducible cytokines (e.g., interleukin-10, interferon-γ) or affect expression of inflammasome components or substrates (e.g., procaspase-1, pro-interleukin-18). Our findings thus revealed a species-specific regulatory mechanism for selective inflammasome priming in human macrophages.

Keywords: Toll-like receptor; gene expression; inflammasome; inflammation; species differences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-1beta / genetics*
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammasomes
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Membrane Proteins
  • RNF145 protein, mouse
  • RNF144B protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases