Immunologic Research

, Volume 23, Issue 2–3, pp 99–109 | Cite as

Innate immunity and inflammation: A transcriptional paradigm

  • Jacek HawigerEmail author


The innate immune response and the process of inflammation are interwoven. Excessive and continuing cytokine production in response to bacterial lipopolysacharides (LPS) or super antigens is a hallmark of the systemic inflammatory response (IR), which can be life-threatening. Dissemination of these bacterial products induces waves of proin flammatory cytokines that cause vascular injury and multiple organ dysfunction. Both LPS and super antigens induce signaling to the nucleus in mononuclear phagocytes and T cells, respectively. These signaling pathways are mediated by NF-κB and other stress-responsive transcription factors (SRTFs), which play a critical role in reprogramming gene expression. The nuclear import of NF-κB allow stranscriptional activation of over 100 genes that encode mediators of inflammatory and immune responses. We have developed a novel method to block nuclear import of NF-κB through cell-permeable peptide transduction in monocytes, macrophages, T lymphocytes, and endothelial cells. Strikingly, a cell-permeable peptide that antagonizes nuclear import of NF-κB and other SRTFs, suppressed the systemic production of proinflammatory cytokines (TNFα and interferon γ) in mice challenged with a lethal dose of LPS, and increased their survival by at least 90%. Thus, systemic inflammatory responses are critically dependent on the transcriptional activation of cytokine genes that are controlled by NF-κB and other SRTFs.

Key Words

Innate Immunity Inflammation NF-κB Transcription Factors Monocytes and Macrophages T cells Nuclear Import Cell-Permeable Peptides Lipopolysaccharides Superantigens 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and ImmunologyVanderbilt University School of MedicineNashville

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