Downregulation of PCAF by miR-181a/b provides feedback regulation to TNF-α-induced transcription of proinflammatory genes in liver epithelial cells

Jian Zhao, Ai Yu Gong, Rui Zhou, Jun Liu, Alex N. Eischeid, Xian Ming Chen

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34 Scopus citations


Aberrant cellular responses to proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α, are pathogenic features in most chronic inflammatory diseases. A variety of extracellular and intracellular feedback pathways has evolved to prevent an inappropriate cellular reaction to these proinflammatory cytokines. In this study, we report that TNF-α treatment of human and mouse cholangiocytes and hepatocytes downregulated expression of p300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF), a coactivator and an acetyltransferase that promotes histone acetylation and gene transcription. Of these upregulated microRNAs in TNF-α-treated cells, miR-181a/b (miR-181a and miR-181b) suppressed translation of PCAF mRNA. Functional manipulation of miR-181a/b caused reciprocal alterations in PCAF protein expression in cultured cholangiocytes and hepatocytes. Inhibition of miR-181a/b function with anti-miRs blocked TNF-α-induced suppression of PCAF expression. Promoter recruitment of PCAF was shown to be associated with TNF-α-induced transcription of inflammatory genes. Intriguingly, pretreatment of cells with TNF-α inhibited transcription of inflammatory genes in response to subsequent TNF-α stimulation. Overexpression of PCAF or inhibition of miR-181a/b function with anti-miRs attenuated the inhibitory effects of TNF-α pretreatment on epithelial inflammatory response to subsequent TNF-α stimulation. Downregulation of PCAF and the inhibitory effects of TNF-α pretreatment on liver epithelial inflammatory response were further confirmed in a mouse model of TNF-α i.p. injection. These data suggest that PCAF is a target for miR-181a/b, and downregulation of PCAF by TNF-α provides negative feedback regulation to inflammatory reactions in liver epithelial cells, a process that may be relevant to the epigenetic fine-tuning of epithelial inflammatory processes in general.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1266-1274
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2012


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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