Shiga toxin 1-induced proinflammatory cytokine production is regulated by the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin signaling pathway. Academic Article uri icon


  • Shiga toxin 1 (Stx1) transiently increases the expression of proinflammatory cytokines by macrophage-like THP-1 cells in vitro. Increased cytokine production is partly due to activation of the translation initiation factor eIF4E through a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)- and Mnk1-dependent pathway. eIF4E availability for translation initiation is regulated by association with eIF4E binding proteins (4E-BP). In this study, we showed that Stx1 transiently induced 4E-BP hyperphosphorylation, which may release eIF4E for translation initiation. Phosphorylation of 4E-BP at priming sites T37 and T46 was not altered by Stx1 but was transiently increased at S65, concomitant with increased cytokine expression. Using kinase inhibitors, we showed that 4E-BP phosphorylation was dependent on phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K), Akt, and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation but did not require MAPKs. Stx1 treatment resulted in increased levels of cytosolic Ca(2+). PI3K and Akt activation led to the phosphorylation and inactivation of the positive cytokine regulator glycogen synthase kinase 3alpha/beta (GSK-3alpha/beta). PI3K, Akt, and mTOR inhibitors and small interfering RNA knockdown of Akt expression all increased, whereas a GSK-3alpha/beta inhibitor decreased, Stx1-induced soluble tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-1beta production. Overall, these findings suggest that despite transient activation of 4E-BP, the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway negatively influences cytokine induction by inactivating the positive regulator GSK-3alpha/beta.

published proceedings

  • Infect Immun

author list (cited authors)

  • Cherla, R. P., Lee, S., Mulder, R. A., Lee, M., & Tesh, V. L.

citation count

  • 27

publication date

  • September 2009