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Previous studies suggest that endotoxin (LPS) stimulation of CD14 receptors may be coupled to heterotrimeric G proteins. However, characterization of the G protein-coupled signaling pathways is incomplete. Also, specific changes in the transduction pathways occur in a phenomenon known as LPS tolerance or desensitization induced by prior exposure to LPS. In the present study, we examined potential CD14-dependent G protein-coupled signaling events in response to LPS, and changes in signaling in these pathways during LPS desensitization in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells. LPS stimulated inhibitory kappa B alpha (IkappaB alpha) degradation and p38 phosphorylation in CHO cells transfected with human CD14 receptor (CHO-CD14), but not in CHO cells transfected with vector only. However, activation of these signaling events diverged early in the signal transduction pathways. Pretreatment with pertussis toxin, which inactivates inhibitor G protein (G alpha i) function, significantly inhibited LPS-induced p38 phosphorylation, but not LPS-induced IkappaB alpha degradation. Mastoparan, a putative G alpha i agonist, synergized with LPS to induce p38 phosphorylation. Thus, LPS stimulation of p38 phosphorylation is, in part, G alpha i coupled, whereas IkappaB alpha degradation is not. In subsequent studies, CHO-CD14 cells were desensitized by prior LPS exposure. LPS-desensitized cells exhibited augmented IkappaB alpha content and were refractory to LPS-induced IkappaB alpha degradation and p38 phosphorylation. Pretreatment with cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor, prevented the effect of LPS desensitization on augmenting cellular IkappaB alpha content and its refractoriness to LPS-induced degradation. However, cycloheximide pretreatment did not prevent impaired p38 phosphorylation in desensitized cells. IkappaB alpha upregulation in LPS tolerance may occur through increased synthesis and/or induction of protein that suppress IkappaB alpha degradation. The latter protein synthesis-dependent mechanisms may be distinct from mechanismis inhibiting p38 phosphorylation in tolerance. These findings suggest that LPS tolerance induces CD14-dependent signaling alterations in G alpha i-coupled pathways leading to mitogen-activated (MAP) kinase activation as well as G alpha i-independent pathways inducing IkappaB alpha degradation.


M Ferlito, F Squadrito, P V Halushka, J A Cook. Signal transduction events in Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing human CD14; effect of endotoxin desensitization. Shock (Augusta, Ga.). 2001 Apr;15(4):291-6

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PMID: 11303728

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