Sepsis, a life-threatening organ dysfunction caused by infection, is a major public health concern with limited therapeutic options. We provide evidence to support a role for anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), a tumor-associated receptor tyrosine kinase, in the regulation of innate immunity during lethal sepsis. The genetic disruption of ALK expression diminishes the stimulator of interferon genes (STING)-mediated host immune response to cyclic dinucleotides in monocytes and macrophages. Mechanistically, ALK directly interacts with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) to trigger serine-threonine protein kinase AKT phosphorylation and activate interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) signaling pathways, enabling STING-dependent rigorous inflammatory responses. Moreover, pharmacological or genetic inhibition of the ALK-STING pathway confers protection against lethal endotoxemia and sepsis in mice. The ALK pathway is up-regulated in patients with sepsis. These findings uncover a key role for ALK in modulating the inflammatory signaling pathway and shed light on the development of ALK-targeting therapeutics for lethal systemic inflammatory disorders.
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