Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling drives the innate immune response by activating nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and interferon regulatory factor (IRF). We have previously shown that STRAP interacts with TAK1 and IKKα along with NF-κB subunit p65, leading to the activation of pro-inflammatory cytokines. However, the roles of STRAP in TRIF/TBK1-mediated TLR3 activation and the subsequent type I interferon (IFN) production are not fully elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that STRAP acts as a scaffold protein in TLR3-triggered signaling. STRAP strongly interacts with TBK1 and IRF3, which enhances IFN-β production. As a consequence, STRAP knockdown reduces the level of both pro-inflammatory cytokine and IFN in TLR3 agonist-stimulated macrophages, whereas its overexpression significantly enhances production of these cytokines. Furthermore, the C-terminus of STRAP is essential for its functional activity in TLR3-mediated IL-6 and IFN-β production. These data suggest that STRAP is a positive regulator of the TLR3-meditated NF-κB and IRF signaling pathway.
Keywords: Cytokine; STRAP; Scaffold protein; Signal transduction; TLR3.
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