Abstract Title:

Artesunate Attenuates Pro-Inflammatory Cytokine Release from Macrophages by Inhibiting TLR4-Mediated Autophagic Activation via the TRAF6-Beclin1-PI3KC3 Pathway.

Abstract Source:

Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018 ;47(2):475-488. Epub 2018 May 22. PMID: 29794440

Abstract Author(s):

Mei Kuang, Yanyan Cen, Rongxin Qin, Shenglan Shang, Zhaoxia Zhai, Chao Liu, Xichun Pan, Hong Zhou

Article Affiliation:

Mei Kuang


BACKGROUND/AIMS: Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) plays a critical role in excessive inflammatory cytokine production during sepsis. Previously, artesunate (AS) was reported to protect septic mice by reducing LPS-induced pro-inflammatory cytokine release. In the present study, the possible mechanism of the anti-inflammatory effect of AS was further investigated.

METHODS: An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to detect TNF-α and IL-6 release from macrophages. Specific small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) were used to knockdown the mRNA expression of target genes. Transmission electron microscopy and laser confocal microscopy were used to observe changes in autophagy. Western blotting was performed to detect the protein levels of tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor6 (TRAF6), Beclin1, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase class III (PI3KC3), autophagy-related protein 5 (ATG5), and sequestosome 1. Immunoprecipitation (IP) and fluorescent co-localization were used to detect the interactions between TRAF6-Beclin1 and Beclin1-PI3KC3, and the ubiquitination of Beclin1.

RESULTS: AS inhibited TNF-α and IL-6 release from RAW264.7 cells, mouse bone marrow-derived monocytes (BMDMs) and peritoneal macrophages (PMs) induced by LPS. However, the inhibition by AS of LPS-induced cytokine release decreased when autophagy was inhibited using 3-MA, bafilomycin A1, or a siRNA targeting the Atg5 gene. Notably, AS showed an inhibition of LPS-induced autophagic activation not degradation. Whereas, these effects of AS were lost in macrophages lacking TLR4 and decreased in macrophages with down-regulated TRAF6, indicating that AS inhibited LPS-induced cytokine release and autophagic activation via TLR4-TRAF6 signaling. Western blotting results showed AS could reduce the levels of TRAF6, Beclin1, and PI3KC3. Importantly, the IP results showed AS only inhibited K63-linked ubiquitylation not total ubiquitylation of Beclin1 by acting on TRAF6. This interrupted the TRAF6-Beclin1 interaction and subsequent the formation of Beclin1- PI3KC3 core complex of the PI3K-III complex.

CONCLUSION: AS inhibited LPS-induced cytokine release from macrophages by inhibiting autophagic activation. This effect was tightly related to blockade of the TRAF6-Beclin1-PI3KC3 pathway via decreasing K63-linked ubiquitination of Beclin1 and then interrupting the formation of Beclin1-PI3KC3 core complex of the PI3K-III complex. Our findings reveal the mechanism of AS's anti-inflammatory effect and is significant for future targeted investigations of sepsis treatment.

Study Type : In Vitro Study

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