The Serine-threonine Kinase Inositol-requiring Enzyme 1α (IRE1α) Promotes IL-4 Production in T Helper Cells* Academic Article uri icon


  • The inositol-requiring enzyme 1α (IRE1α) is a serine-threonine kinase that plays crucial roles in activating the unfolded protein response. Studies suggest that IRE1α is activated during thymic T cell development and in effector CD8(+) T cells. However, its role in regulating T helper cell differentiation remains unknown. We find that IRE1α is up-regulated and activated upon CD4(+) T cell activation and plays an important role in promoting cytokine IL-4 production. CD4(+) T cells from IRE1α KO mice have reduced IL-4 protein expression, and this impaired IL-4 production is not due to the altered expression of Th2 lineage-specific transcription factors, such as GATA3. Instead, IL-4 mRNA stability is reduced in IRE1α KO T cells. Furthermore, treatment of T cells with an IRE1α-specific inhibitor, 4μ8C, leads to a block in IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 production, confirming the role of IRE1α in the regulation of IL-4. This study identifies a regulatory function for IRE1α in the promotion of IL-4 in T cells.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Kemp, K. L., Lin, Z., Zhao, F., Gao, B., Song, J., Zhang, K., & Fang, D.

citation count

  • 27

complete list of authors

  • Kemp, Kyeorda L||Lin, Zhenghong||Zhao, Fang||Gao, Beixue||Song, Jianxun||Zhang, Kezhong||Fang, Deyu

publication date

  • October 2013