Cooperative and distinct functions of MK2 and MK3 in the regulation of the macrophage transcriptional response to lipopolysaccharide

Sci Rep. 2019 Jul 30;9(1):11021. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-46791-8.


The p38MAPK downstream targets MAPKAP kinases (MK) 2 and 3 are critical for the regulation of the macrophage response to LPS. The extents to which these two kinases act cooperatively and distinctly in regulating LPS-induced inflammatory cytokine expression are still unclear. To address this uncertainty, whole transcriptome analyses were performed using bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) generated from MK2-/- or MK2/3-/- animals and their wild-type littermates. The results suggest that in BMDM, MK2 and MK3 not only cooperatively regulate the transcript expression of signaling intermediates, including IL-10, IL-19, CXCL2 and the IL-4 receptor (IL-4R)α subunit, they also exert distinct regulatory effects on the expression of specific transcripts. Based on the differential regulation of gene expression by MK2 and MK3, at least six regulatory patterns were identified. Importantly, we confirmed our previous finding, which showed that in the absence of MK2, MK3 negatively regulates IFN-β. Moreover, this genome-wide analysis identified the regulation of Cr1A, NOD1 and Serpina3f as similar to that of IFN-β. In the absence of MK2, MK3 also delayed the nuclear translocation of NFκB by delaying the ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of IκBβ, reflecting the substantial plasticity of the response of BMDM to LPS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CXCL2
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Interleukins / metabolism
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System*
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / genetics
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Transcriptome*
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / genetics
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism


  • Chemokine CXCL2
  • Il4ra protein, mouse
  • Interleukins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Interferon-gamma
  • MAP-kinase-activated kinase 2
  • MAP-kinase-activated kinase 3
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases