Molecular immunology

Bacterial flagellin induces IL-6 expression in human basophils.

PMID 25660969


Binding of allergen to IgE on basophils positively affects allergic inflammation by releasing inflammatory mediators. Recently, basophils were shown to express pattern-recognition receptors, such as toll-like receptors (TLRs), for recognizing microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs) that are independent of allergen-IgE binding. In this study, we investigated whether MAMP alone can induce IL-6 production in a human basophil cell line, KU812. Stimulation with flagellin in the absence of allergen-IgE association induced IL-6 expression in KU812 cells, while stimulation with lipoteichoic acid, peptidoglycan, or poly I:C did not under the same condition. Flagellin-induced IL-6 expression was also observed in human primary basophils. Flow cytometric analysis showed that KU812 cells expressed flagellin-recognizing TLR5 both on the cell surface and in the cytoplasm while TLR2 and TLR3 were observed only in the cytoplasm. We further demonstrated that although flagellin augmented the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases including p38 kinase, ERK, and JNK, flagellin-induced IL-6 production was attenuated by inhibitors for p38 kinase and ERK, but not by JNK inhibitors. In addition, flagellin enhanced phosphorylation of signaling molecules including CREB, PKCδ, and AKT. The inhibitors for PKA and PKC also showed inhibitory effects. Interestingly, flagellin-induced IL-6 production was further enhanced by pretreatment with inhibitors for PI3K, implying that PI3K negatively affects the flagellin-induced IL-6 production. Furthermore, DNA binding activities of NF-κB, AP-1, and CREB, which play pivotal roles in the induction of IL-6 gene expression, were increased by flagellin. These results suggest that flagellin alone is sufficient to induce IL-6 gene expression via TLR5 signaling pathways in human basophils.