Post-induction, stimulus-specific regulation of tumor necrosis factor mRNA expression

Alla V. Tsytsykova, James V. Falvo, Marc Schmidt-Supprian, Gilles Courtois, Dimitris Thanos, Anne E. Goldfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) gene is activated by multiple extracellular signals in a stimulus- and cell type-specific fashion. Based on the presence of κB-like DNA motifs in the region upstream of the TNF gene, some have proposed a direct role for NF-κB in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced TNF gene transcription in cells of the monocyte/macrophage lineage. However, we have previously demonstrated a general and critical role for a minimal TNF promoter region bearing only one of the κB-like motifs, κ3, which is bound by nuclear factor of activated T cell proteins in lymphocytes and fibroblasts in response to multiple stimuli and Ets proteins in LPS-stimulated macrophages. Here, in an effort to resolve these contrasting findings, we used a combination of site-directed mutagenesis of the TNF promoter, quantitative DNase I footprinting, and analysis of endogenous TNF mRNA production in response to multiple stimuli under conditions that inhibit NF-κB activation (using the proteasome inhibitor lactacystin and using cells lacking either functional NF-κB essential modulator, which is the IκB kinase regulatory subunit, or the Nemo gene itself). We find that TNF mRNA production in response to ionophore is NF-κB-independent, but inhibition of NF-κB activation attenuates virus- and LPS-induced TNF mRNA levels after initial induction. We conclude that induction of TNF gene transcription by virus or LPS does not depend upon NF-κB binding to the proximal promoter; rather, a stimulus-specific post-induction mechanism involving NF-κB, yet to be characterized, is involved in the maintenance of maximal TNF mRNA levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11629-11638
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number16
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2007
Externally publishedYes


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