The transcription of inflammatory genes is an essential step in host defense activation. Here, we show that cellular nucleic acid-binding protein (CNBP) acts as a transcription regulator that is required for activating the innate immune response. We identified specific CNBP-binding motifs present in the promoter region of sustained inflammatory cytokines, thus, directly inducing the expression of target genes. In particular, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced cnbp expression through an NF-B-dependent manner and a positive autoregulatory mechanism, which enables prolonged il-6 gene expression. This event depends strictly on LPS-induced CNBP nuclear translocation through phosphorylation-mediated dimerization. Consequently, cnbp-depleted zebrafish are highly susceptible to Shigella flexneri infection in vivo. Collectively, these observations identify CNBP as a key transcriptional regulator required for activating and maintaining the immune response.
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