KSRP: A checkpoint for inflammatory cytokine production in astrocytes

Academic Article


  • Chronic inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS) is a central feature of many neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases. As an immunologically competent cell, the astrocyte plays an important role in CNS inflammation. It is capable of expressing a number of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β) that promote inflammation directly and through the recruitment of immune cells. Checkpoints are therefore in place to keep tight control over cytokine production. Adenylate/uridylate-rich elements (ARE) in the 3′ untranslated region of cytokine mRNAs serve as a major checkpoint by regulating mRNA stability and translational efficiency. Here, we examined the impact of KH-type splicing regulatory protein (KSRP), an RNA binding protein which destabilizes mRNAs via the ARE, on cytokine expression and paracrine phenotypes of primary astrocytes. We identified a network of inflammatory mediators, including TNF-α and IL-1β, whose expression increased 2 to 4-fold at the RNA level in astrocytes isolated from KSRP-/- mice compared to littermate controls. Upon activation, KSRP-/- astrocytes produced TNF-α and IL-1β at levels that exceeded control cells by 15-fold or more. Conditioned media from KSRP-/- astrocytes induced chemotaxis and neuronal cell death in vitro. Surprisingly, we observed a prolongation of half-life in only a subset of mRNA targets and only after selective astrocyte activation. Luciferase reporter studies indicated that KSRP regulates cytokine gene expression at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Our results outline a critical role for KSRP in regulating pro-inflammatory mediators and have implications for a wide range of CNS inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Glia  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 15683018
  • Author List

  • Li X; Lin WJ; Chen CY; Si Y; Zhang X; Lu L; Suswam E; Zheng L; King PH
  • Start Page

  • 1773
  • End Page

  • 1784
  • Volume

  • 60
  • Issue

  • 11