Many immune responses depend upon activation of NF-κB, an important transcription factor in the elicitation of a cytokine response. Here we show that N4BP1 inhibits TLR-dependent activation of NF-κB by interacting with the NF-κB signaling essential modulator (NEMO, also known as IκB kinase γ) to attenuate NEMO–NEMO dimerization or oligomerization. The UBA-like (ubiquitin associated-like) and CUE-like (ubiquitin conjugation to ER degradation-like) domains in N4BP1 mediate interaction with the NEMO COZI domain. Both in vitro and in mice, N4bp1 deficiency specifically enhances TRIF-independent (TLR2, TLR7, or TLR9-mediated) but not TRIF-dependent (TLR3 or TLR4-mediated) NF-κB activation, leading to increased production of proinflammatory cytokines. In response to TLR4 or TLR3 activation, TRIF causes activation of caspase-8, which cleaves N4BP1 distal to residues D424 and D490 and abolishes its inhibitory effect. N4bp1−/− mice also have diminished numbers of T cells in the peripheral blood. Our work identifies N4BP1 as an inhibitory checkpoint protein that must be overcome to activate NF-κB, and a TRIF-initiated caspase-8-dependent mechanism by which this is accomplished.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)