A novel cytokine, ML-1, was recently discovered, which shares a similar sequence homology with, but is functionally distinct from, IL-17 (Kawaguchi, M., Onuchic, L., Li, X. D., Essayan, D. M., Schroeder, J., Xiao, H. Q., Liu, M. C., Krishnaswamy, G., Germino, G., and Huang, S. K. (2001) J. Immunol. 167, 4430-4435). To determine the signaling mechanisms of ML-1, we investigated activation of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases induced by ML-1. Results show that ML-1 induces in a time-dependent fashion the expression of IL-6 and IL-8 in both primary bronchial epithelial cells (PBECs) and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). ML-1 activated a MAP kinase and an extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2 but not p38 or the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in both cell types. Selective MAP kinase kinase (MEK)1/2 inhibitors, PD98059 and U0126, inhibited, in a dose-dependent manner, ML-1-induced expression of IL-6 and IL-8. These findings suggest that ML-1-induced IL-6 and IL-8 production is mediated through the activation of ERK1/2 in both cell types.
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