Large-scale reduction of tyrosine kinase activities in human monocytes stimulated in vitro with N. meningitidis

PLoS One. 2018 Jan 19;13(1):e0181912. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181912. eCollection 2018.


N. meningitidis induces extensive gene expression changes in human monocytes, suggesting that complex networks of signaling pathways are activated during meningococcal sepsis. These effects are modulated by the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10). To further study changes in signal transduction suggested by mRNA data, we used kinase substrate arrays to identify composite kinase activities induced by lysates from a primary human monocyte model system. Cell lysates were prepared from monocytes treated with the following experimental conditions: 106 N. meningitidis/mL, 25 ng/mL IL-10, 106 N. meningitidis/mL in combination with 25 ng/mL IL-10, and vehicle. Lysates were subjected to kinase activity profiling with Tyrosine Kinase PamChip® arrays containing 144 kinase peptide substrates. In our experimental model, we were not able to detect a statistically significant large-scale change in ex vivo array peptide phosphorylation by lysates from monocytes treated for 15 minutes. Targets of the IL-10 anti-inflammatory response were not identified. A profound inhibition of array peptide phosphorylation by monocytes treated for 60 minutes was identified, suggesting low activity of a large number of kinases associated with different signaling pathways and immune cell functions, including STAT3 activity, Nf-κB and VEGF signaling, and PTEN signaling activity. The peptide representing ZBTB16, which was reduced in phosphorylation by lysates from all three experimental conditions, was in Ingenuity Pathway Analysis identified to be linked to reduced cytokine release and mRNA levels of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), IL-6, and CXCL10. Further studies should investigate changes in tyrosine kinase-mediated signal transduction in human immune cells, in order to evaluate the potential clinical application of kinome profiling in the study of systemic inflammatory responses to pathogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Interleukin-10 / pharmacology
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / enzymology*
  • Monocytes / microbiology
  • Neisseria meningitidis / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interleukin-10
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases

Grants and funding

This work was supported by Wedel Jarlsbergs Fond. The University of Oslo's Open Access Publishing Fund covered the open access fee. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.