IL-17A is a therapeutic target in many autoimmune diseases. Most nonhematopoietic cells express IL-17A receptors and respond to extracellular IL-17A by inducing proinflammatory cytokines. The IL-17A signal transduction triggers two broad, TRAF6- and TRAF5-dependent, intracellular signaling pathways to produce representative cytokines (IL-6) and chemokines (CXCL-1), respectively. Our limited understanding of the cross-talk between these two branches has generated a crucial gap of knowledge, leading to therapeutics indiscriminately blocking IL-17A and global inhibition of its target genes. In previous work, we discovered an elevated expression of 14-3-3 proteins in inflammatory aortic disease, a rare human autoimmune disorder with increased levels of IL-17A. Here we report that 14-3-3ζ is essential for IL-17 signaling by differentially regulating the signal-induced IL-6 and CXCL-1. Using genetically manipulated human and mouse cells, and ex vivo and in vivo rat models, we uncovered a function of 14-3-3ζ. As a part of the molecular mechanism, we show that 14-3-3ζ interacts with several TRAF proteins; in particular, its interaction with TRAF5 and TRAF6 is increased in the presence of IL-17A. In contrast to TRAF6, we found TRAF5 to be an endogenous suppressor of IL-17A-induced IL-6 production, an effect countered by 14-3-3ζ. Furthermore, we observed that 14-3-3ζ interaction with TRAF proteins is required for the IL-17A-induced IL-6 levels. Together, our results show that 14-3-3ζ is an essential component of IL-17A signaling and IL-6 production, an effect that is suppressed by TRAF5. To the best of our knowledge, this report of the 14-3-3ζ-TRAF5 axis, which differentially regulates IL-17A-induced IL-6 and CXCL-1 production, is unique.
Keywords: 14-3-3ζ; IL-17A; TRAF.