Tristetraprolin Limits Inflammatory Cytokine Production in Tumor-Associated Macrophages in an mRNA Decay-Independent Manner.
ABSTRACT: Tristetraprolin (TTP) is an inducible zinc finger AU-rich RNA-binding protein essential for enforcing degradation of mRNAs encoding inflammatory chemokines and cytokines. Most studies on TTP center on the connection between mRNA half-life and inflammatory output, because loss of TTP amplifies inflammation by increasing the stability of AU-rich mRNAs. Here, we focused on how TTP controls cytokine and chemokine production in the nonresolving inflammation of cancer using tissue-specific approaches. In contrast with model in vitro macrophage systems, we found constitutive TTP expression in late-stage tumor-associated macrophages (TAM). However, TTP's effects on AU-rich mRNA stability were negligible and limited by constitutive p38? MAPK activity, which was the main driver of proinflammatory cytokine production in TAMs at the posttranscriptional level. Instead, elimination of TTP caused excessive protein production of inflammatory mediators, suggesting TTP-dependent translational suppression of AU-rich mRNAs. Manipulation of the p38?-TTP axis in macrophages has significant effects on the growth of tumors and therefore represents a means to manipulate inflammation in the tumor microenvironment.
Project description:TNF expression of macrophages is under stringent translational control that depends on the p38 MAPK/MK2 pathway and the AU-rich element (ARE) in the TNF mRNA. Here, we elucidate the molecular mechanism of phosphorylation-regulated translation of TNF. We demonstrate that translation of the TNF-precursor at the ER requires expression of the ARE-binding and -stabilizing factor human antigen R (HuR) together with either activity of the p38 MAPK/MK2 pathway or the absence of the ARE-binding and -destabilizing factor tristetraprolin (TTP). We show that phosphorylation of TTP by MK2 decreases its affinity to the ARE, inhibits its ability to replace HuR, and permits HuR-mediated initiation of translation of TNF mRNA. Since translation of TTP's own mRNA is also regulated by this mechanism, an intrinsic feedback control of the inflammatory response is ensured. The phosphorylation-regulated TTP/HuR exchange at target mRNAs provides a reversible switch between unstable/non-translatable and stable/efficiently translated mRNAs.
Project description:p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) stabilises pro-inflammatory mediator mRNAs by inhibiting AU-rich element (ARE)-mediated decay. We show that in bone-marrow derived murine macrophages tristetraprolin (TTP) is necessary for the p38 MAPK-sensitive decay of several pro-inflammatory mRNAs, including cyclooxygenase-2 and the novel targets interleukin (IL)-6, and IL-1alpha. TTP(-/-) macrophages also strongly overexpress IL-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine that constrains the production of the IL-6 despite its disregulation at the post-transcriptional level. TTP directly controls IL-10 mRNA stability, which is increased and insensitive to inhibition of p38 MAPK in TTP(-/-) macrophages. Furthermore, TTP enhances deadenylation of an IL-10 3'-untranslated region RNA in vitro.
Project description:For a successful yet controlled immune response, cells need to specifically destabilize inflammatory mRNAs but prevent premature removal of those still used. The regulatory circuits controlling quality and timing in the global inflammatory mRNA decay are not understood. Here, we show that the mRNA-destabilizing function of the AU-rich element-binding protein tristetraprolin (TTP) is inversely regulated by the p38 MAPK activity profile such that after inflammatory stimulus the TTP-dependent decay is initially limited to few mRNAs. With time, the TTP-dependent decay gradually spreads resulting in cumulative elimination of one third of inflammation-induced unstable mRNAs in macrophages in vitro. We confirmed this sequential decay model in vivo since LPS-treated mice with myeloid TTP ablation exhibited similar cytokine dysregulation profile as macrophages. The mice were hypersensitive to LPS but otherwise healthy with no signs of hyperinflammation seen in conventional TTP knockout mice demonstrating the requirement for myeloid TTP in re-installment but not maintenance of immune homeostasis. These findings reveal a TTP- and p38 MAPK-dominated regulatory mechanism that is vital for balancing acute inflammation by a temporally and qualitatively controlled mRNA decay.
Project description:Tristetraprolin (TTP) is a tandem CCCH zinc finger protein that can bind to AU-rich element-containing mRNAs and promote their decay. TTP knockout mice develop a severe inflammatory syndrome, largely due to excess tumor necrosis factor (TNF), whose mRNA is a direct target of TTP binding and destabilization. TTP's RNA binding activity and its ability to promote mRNA decay are lost when one of the zinc-coordinating residues of either zinc finger is mutated. To address several long-standing questions about TTP activity in intact animals, we developed a knock-in mouse with a cysteine-to-arginine mutation within the first zinc finger. Homozygous knock-in mice developed a severe inflammatory syndrome that was essentially identical to that of complete TTP deficiency, suggesting that TTP's critical anti-inflammatory role in mammalian physiology is secondary to its ability to bind RNA. In addition, there was no evidence for a "dominant-negative" effect of the mutant allele in heterozygotes, as suggested by previous experiments. Finally, mRNA decay experiments in mutant macrophages demonstrated that TTP can regulate the stability of its own mRNA, albeit to a minor extent. These studies suggest that RNA binding is an essential first step in the physiological activities of members of this protein family.
Project description:Changes in mRNA stability and translation are critical control points in the regulation of gene expression, particularly genes encoding growth factors, inflammatory mediators, and proto-oncogenes. Adenosine and uridine (AU)-rich elements (ARE), often located in the 3' untranslated regions (3'UTR) of mRNAs, are known to target transcripts for rapid decay. They are also involved in the regulation of mRNA stability and translation in response to extracellular cues. This review focuses on one of the best characterized ARE binding proteins, tristetraprolin (TTP), the founding member of a small family of CCCH tandem zinc finger proteins. In this survey, we have reviewed the current status of TTP interactions with mRNA and proteins, and discussed current thinking about TTP's mechanism of action to promote mRNA decay. We also review the proposed regulation of TTP's functions by phosphorylation. Finally, we have discussed emerging evidence for TTP operating as a translational regulator. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: RNA Decay mechanisms.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The tristetraprolin (TTP) family of mRNA-binding proteins contains three major members, Ttp, Zfp36l1, and Zfp36l2. Ttp down-regulates the stability of AU-rich element-containing mRNAs and functions as an anti-inflammation regulator. METHODS:To examine whether other TTP family proteins also play roles in the inflammatory response, their expression profiles and the possible mRNA targets were determined in the knockdown cells. RESULTS:Ttp mRNA and protein were highly induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), whereas Zfp36l1 and Zfp36l2 mRNAs were down-regulated and their proteins were phosphorylated during early lipopolysaccharide stimulation. Biochemical and functional analyses exhibited that the decrease of Zfp36l2 mRNA was cross-regulated by Ttp. Knockdown of Zfp36l1 and Zfp36l2 increased the basal level of Mkp-1 mRNAs by prolonging its half-life. Increasing the expression of Mkp-1 inhibited the activation of p38 MAPK under lipopolysaccharide stimulation and down-regulated Tnf?, and Ttp mRNA. In addition, hyper-phosphorylation of Zfp36l1 might stabilize Mkp-1 expression by forming a complex with the adapter protein 14-3-3 and decreasing the interaction with deadenylase Caf1a. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings imply that the expression and phosphorylation of Zfp36l1 and Zfp36l2 may modulate the basal level of Mkp-1 mRNA to control p38 MAPK activity during lipopolysaccharide stimulation, which would affect the inflammatory mediators production. Zfp36l1 and Zfp36l2 are important regulators of the innate immune response.
Project description:Treatment of macrophages with pyridinyl imidazole inhibitors of p38 protein kinases can inhibit lipopolysaccharide-stimulated tumor necrosis factor alpha secretion. However, bone marrow-derived macrophages from tristetraprolin (TTP)-deficient mice were less sensitive than normal macrophages to this effect of p38 inhibitors, despite evidence for normal p38 activation in response to lipopolysaccharide. TTP is known to cause decreased stability of tumor necrosis factor alpha and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor mRNAs after binding to an AU-rich element in their 3'-untranslated regions. A recombinant TTP fusion protein could be phosphorylated by a recombinant p38 kinase in cell-free assays and was phosphorylated to the same extent by immunoprecipitated p38 derived from normal and TTP-deficient cells stimulated with lipopolysaccharide; in both cases, the enzyme activity was inhibited by the p38 inhibitors. TTP phosphorylation also was increased in intact macrophages after lipopolysaccharide stimulation, an effect that was blocked by the p38 inhibitors. Finally, TTP in mammalian cell extracts bound less well to an AU-rich element RNA probe than did the same amount of TTP following dephosphorylation. These results suggest that TTP may be a component of the signaling cascade, initiated by inflammatory stimuli and mediated in part by activation of p38, that ultimately leads to enhanced secretion of tumor necrosis factor alpha.
Project description:Both innate and adaptive immunity in birds are different from their mammalian counterparts. Understanding bird immunity is important because of the enormous potential impact of avian infectious diseases, both in their role as food animals and as potential carriers of zoonotic diseases in man. The anti-inflammatory protein tristetraprolin (TTP) is an important component of the mammalian innate immune response, in that it binds to and destabilizes key cytokine mRNAs. TTP knockout mice exhibit a severe systemic inflammatory syndrome, and they are abnormally sensitive to innate immune stimuli such as LPS. TTP orthologs have been found in most vertebrates studied, including frogs. Here, we attempted to identify TTP orthologs in chicken and other birds, using database searches and deep mRNA sequencing. Although sequences encoding the two other widely expressed TTP family members, ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2, were identified, we did not find sequences corresponding to TTP in any bird species. Sequences corresponding to TTP were identified in both lizards and alligators, close evolutionary relatives of birds. The induction kinetics of Zfp36l1 and Zfp36l2 mRNAs in LPS-stimulated chicken macrophages or serum-stimulated chick embryo fibroblasts did not resemble the normal mammalian TTP response to these stimuli, suggesting that the other two family members might not compensate for the TTP deficiency in regulating rapidly induced mRNA targets. Several mammalian TTP target transcripts have chicken counterparts that contain one or more potential TTP binding sites, raising the possibility that birds express other proteins that subsume TTP's function as a rapidly inducible regulator of AU-rich element (ARE)-dependent mRNA turnover.
Project description:Tristetraprolin (TTP) is a hyperphosphorylated protein that destabilizes mRNA by binding to an AU-rich element (ARE). Mice deficient in TTP develop a severe inflammatory syndrome. The biochemical properties of TTP have not been adequately characterized, due to the difficulties in protein purification and lack of a high-titer antiserum. Full-length human TTP was expressed in human HEK293 cells and purified to at least 70% homogeneity. The purified protein was free of endogenous ARE binding activity, and was used for investigating its size, zinc dependency, and binding kinetics for tumor necrosis factor alpha mRNA ARE. A high-titer rabbit antiserum was raised against the MBP-hTTP fusion protein expressed in Escherichia coli. Cellular localization studies of the transfected cells indicated that approximately 80% of the expressed TTP was in the cytosol, with 20% in the nuclei. TTP from both locations bound to the ARE and formed similar complexes. The purified TTP was shown to be intact by N-terminal His-tag purification, C-terminal peptide sequencing, and mass spectrometry analysis. Results from size exclusion chromatography are consistent with the predominant form of active TTP being a tetramer. TTP's ARE binding activity was increased by 10 microM Zn(2+). The half-maximal binding of TTP from HEK293 cells was approximately 30 nM in assays containing 10 nM ARE. This value was about twice that of TTP from E. coli. TTP from HEK293 cells was highly phosphorylated, and its electrophoretic mobility was increased by alkaline phosphatase treatment and somewhat by T271A mutation, but not by PNGase F or S186A mutation. The gel mobility of TTP from E. coli was decreased by in vitro phosphorylation with p42/ERK2 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases. These results suggest that TTP's zinc-dependent ARE binding affinity is reduced by half by posttranslational modifications, mainly by phosphorylation but not by glycosylation, in mammalian cells. The results support a model in which each subunit of the TTP tetramer binds to one of the five overlapping UUAUUUAUU sequences of the ARE, resulting in a stable TTP-ARE complex.
Project description:Tristetraprolin (TTP) is a zinc-finger protein that binds to AREs (AU-rich elements) within certain mRNAs and causes destabilization of those mRNAs. Mice deficient in TTP develop a profound inflammatory syndrome with erosive arthritis, autoimmunity and myeloid hyperplasia. Previous studies showed that TTP is phosphorylated extensively in intact cells. However, limited information is available about the identities of these phosphorylation sites. We investigated the phosphorylation sites in human TTP from transfected HEK-293 cells by MS and site-directed mutagenesis. A number of phosphorylation sites including Ser66, Ser88, Thr92, Ser169, Ser186, Ser197, Ser218, Ser228, Ser276 and Ser296 were identified by MS analyses using MALDI (matrix-assisted laser-desorption-ionization)-MS, MALDI-tandem MS, LC (liquid chromatography)-tandem MS and multidimensional protein identification technology. Mutations of Ser197, Ser218 and Ser228 to alanine in the human protein significantly increased TTP's gel mobility (likely to be stoichiometric), whereas mutations at the other sites had little effect on its gel mobility. Dephosphorylation and in vivo labelling studies showed that mutant proteins containing multiple mutations were still phosphorylated, and all were able to bind to RNA probes containing AREs. Confocal microscopy showed a similar cytosolic localization of TTP among the various proteins. Ser197, Ser218 and Ser228 are predicted by motif scanning to be potential sites for protein kinase A, glycogen synthase kinase-3 and extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1 (both Ser218 and Ser228) respectively. The present study has identified multiple phosphorylation sites in the anti-inflammatory protein TTP in mammalian cells and should provide the molecular basis for further studies on the function and regulation of TTP in controlling pro-inflammatory cytokines.