NF-κB repressing factor (NRF), a nuclear inhibitor of NF-κB, is constitutively expressed and is implicated in the basal silencing of specific NF-κB targeting genes, including IFN-β, IL-8/CXCL8, and iNOS. Little is known about the regulation of NRF and its role in response to stimuli. Airway smooth muscle (ASM) is a rich source of inflammatory mediators that may regulate the development and progression of airway inflammation. We have previously reported that NE activates NF-κB in primary human ASM (hASM), leading to induction of TGF-β1. In this study, we describe that, instead of inducing the NF-κB response gene IL-8/CXCL8, NE suppressed IL-8/CXCL8 release and mRNA expression in hASM cells. Transcriptional blockade studies using actinomycin D revealed a similar degradation rate of IL-8/CXCL8 mRNA in the presence or absence of NE, suggesting an involvement at the transcription level. Mechanistically, the NE repressive effect was mediated by inducing NRF, as shown by RT-PCR and Western blotting, which was subsequently recruited to the native IL-8/CXCL8 promoter leading to removal of RNA polymerase II from the promoter, as demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Knockdown of NRF by small interfering RNA prevented NE-induced suppression of IL-8/CXCL8 expression. In contrast, NE did not induce NRF expression in A549 and Beas-2B cells, where NE only stimulates NF-κB activation and IL-8/CXCL8 induction. Forced expression of NRF in A549 cells by an NRF expression plasmid suppressed IL-8/CXCL8 expression. Hence, we describe a novel negative regulatory mechanism of NE-induced NRF, which is restricted to hASM and mediates the suppression of IL-8/CXCL8 expression.
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