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Negative regulation of Toll-like-receptor signaling by IRF-4

  • Hideo Negishi
  • Yusuke Ohba
  • Hideyuki Yanai
  • Akinori Takaoka
  • Kiri Honma
  • Katsuyuki Yui
  • Toshifumi Matsuyama
  • Tadatsugu Taniguchi
  • Kenya Honda
National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Oct 19, 2005


The recognition of microbial components by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) is an event central to the activation of innate and adaptive immune systems. TLR activation triggers the induction of downstream target genes, wherein the TLR-interacting adaptor molecule MyD88 recruits various signaling molecules and transcription factors. Two members of the IFN regulatory factor (IRF) family of transcription factors, IRF-5 and IRF-7, interact with MyD88 and induce proinflammatory cytokines and type I IFNs, respectively. Here, we show that IRF-4 also interacts with MyD88 and acts as a negative regulator of TLR signaling. IRF-4 mRNA is induced by TLR activation, and IRF-4 competes with IRF-5, but not with IRF-7, for MyD88 interaction. The TLR-dependent induction of proinflammatory cytokines is markedly enhanced in peritoneal macrophages from mice deficient in the Irf4 gene, whereas the induction is inhibited by the ectopic expression of IRF-4 in a macrophage cell line. The critical function of IRF-4 in TLR signaling in vivo is underscored by the observation that Irf4-deficient mice show hypersensitivity to DNA-induced shock, with elevated serum proinflammatory cytokine levels. This study may provide an insight into the complex regulatory mechanisms of MyD88 signaling by IRFs.


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