Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Induction of 11β-hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase Type 1 in A549 Cells Requires Phosphorylation of C/EBPβ at Thr235

Cristina L. Esteves, Manu Verma, Ewa Róg-Zielińska, Val Kelly, Shuji Sai, Amandine Breton, Francesc X. Donadeu, Jonathan R. Seckl, Karen E. Chapman

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Abstract

11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) converts inert glucocorticoids into active forms, thereby increasing intracellular glucocorticoid levels, important to restrain acute inflammation. 11β-HSD1 is induced by pro-inflammatory cytokines in a variety of cells. Here, we show 11β-HSD1 expression in human A549 epithelial cells is increased by pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1α/TNFα) via the P2 promoter of the HSD11B1 gene. Inhibition of p38 MAPK attenuated the pro-inflammatory cytokine induction of mRNA encoding 11β-HSD1 as well as that encoding C/EBPβ. IL-1α/TNFα-induced phosphorylation of C/EBPβ at Thr235 was also attenuated by p38 MAPK inhibition suggesting involvement of a p38 MAPK-C/EBPβ pathway. siRNA-mediated knock-down of C/EBPβ and NF-κB/RelA implicated both transcription factors in the IL-1α/TNFα induction of HSD11B1 mRNA. Transient transfections of HSD11B1 promoter-reporter constructs identified the proximal region of the P2 promoter of HSD11B1 as essential for this induction. IL-1α increased binding of C/EBPβ to the HSD11B1 P2 promoter, but this was not observed for NF-κB/RelA, suggesting indirect regulation by NF-κB/RelA. Ectopic expression of mutant chicken C/EBPβ constructs unable to undergo phosphorylation at the threonine equivalent to Thr235 attenuated the IL-1α-induction of HSD11B1, whereas mimicking constitutive phosphorylation of Thr235 (by mutation to aspartate) increased basal expression of HSD11B1 mRNA without affecting IL-1α-induced levels. These data clearly demonstrate a role for both C/EBPβ and NF-κB/RelA in the pro-inflammatory cytokine induction of HSD11B1 in human epithelial cells and show that p38 MAPK-induced phosphorylation of C/EBPβ at Thr235 is critical in this.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere75874
JournalPLoS One
Volume8
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes

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