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Keywords:

  • human beta-defensin-2;
  • intestinal epithelial cell;
  • NF-κB;
  • poly I:C;
  • Toll-like receptor 3

Summary

Intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) play an important role in protecting the intestinal surface from invading pathogens by producing effector molecules. IECs are one of the major sources of human beta-defensin 2 (hBD-2), and can produce it in response to a variety of stimuli. Although IECs express Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR-3) and can respond to its ligand, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), hBD-2 expression in response to dsRNA has not been elucidated. In the present study, using an artificial analogue of dsRNA, polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), we investigated whether the human IEC line, HT-29, can produce hBD-2 in response to poly I:C. HT-29 cells can express hBD-2 mRNA only when stimulated with poly I:C. The induction of hBD-2 mRNA expression was observed at 3 h after stimulation and peaked at 12 h of post-stimulation. Pre-incubation of the cells with nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB)-specific inhibitor, l-1–4′-tosylamino-phenylethyl-chloromethyl ketone (TPCK) and isohelenine abolished the expression of hBD-2. Detection of the poly I:C signal by TLR-3 on the surface of HT-29 cells was revealed by pre-incubating the cells with anti-TLR-3 antibody. The 5′-regulatory region of the hBD-2 gene contains two NF-κB binding sites. A luciferase assay revealed the importance of the proximal NF-κB binding site for poly I:C-induced expression of hBD-2. Among NF-κB subunits, p65 and p50 were activated by poly I:C stimulation and accumulated in the nucleus. Activation of the p65 subunit was investigated further by determining its phosphorylation status, which revealed that poly I:C stimulation resulted in prolonged phosphorylation of p65. These results indicate clearly that NF-κB plays an indispensable role in poly I:C induced hBD-2 expression in HT-29 cells.