Regulation of cytokine and chemokine expression by the ribotoxic stress response elicited by Shiga toxin type 1 in human macrophage-like THP-1 cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • Shiga toxins (Stxs) are cytotoxins produced by the enteric pathogens Shigella dysenteriae serotype 1 and Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Stxs bind to a membrane glycolipid receptor, enter cells, and undergo retrograde transport to ultimately reach the cytosol, where the toxins exert their protein synthesis-inhibitory activity by depurination of a single adenine residue from the 28S rRNA component of eukaryotic ribosomes. The depurination reaction activates the ribotoxic stress response, leading to signaling via the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways (Jun N-terminal protein kinase [JNK], p38, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase [ERK]) in human epithelial, endothelial, and myeloid cells. We previously showed that treatment of human macrophage-like THP-1 cells with Stxs resulted in increased cytokine and chemokine expression. In the present study, we show that individual inactivation of ERK, JNK, and p38 MAPKs using pharmacological inhibitors in the presence of Stx1 resulted in differential regulation of the cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-1 (IL-1) and chemokines IL-8, growth-regulated protein-, macrophage inflammatory protein-1 (MIP-1), and MIP-1. THP-1 cells exposed to Stx1 upregulate the expression of select dual-specificity phosphatases (DUSPs), enzymes that dephosphorylate and inactivate MAPKs in mammalian cells. In this study, we confirmed DUSP1 protein production by THP-1 cells treated with Stx1. DUSP1 inhibition by triptolide showed that ERK and p38 phosphorylation is regulated by DUSP1, while JNK phosphorylation is not. Inhibition of p38 MAPK signaling blocked the ability of Stx1 to induce DUSP1 mRNA expression, suggesting that an autoregulatory signaling loop may be activated by Stxs. Thus, Stxs appear to be capable of eliciting signals which both activate and deactivate signaling for increased cytokine/chemokine production in human macrophage-like cells.

published proceedings

  • Infect Immun

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Leyva-Illades, D., Cherla, R. P., Lee, M., & Tesh, V. L.

citation count

  • 27

editor list (cited editors)

  • Payne, S. M.

publication date

  • June 2012