IL-33 induces granzyme C expression in murine mast cells via an MSK1/2-CREB dependent pathway

Iain R. Phair, Megan Sumoreeah, Niamh Scott, Laura Spinelli, J. Simon C. Arthur (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Granzymes comprise a group of proteases involved in the killing of infected or cancerous cells by the immune system. Although best studied in T cells and NK cells, they are also expressed in some innate immune cells. Granzymes B and C are encoded in the mouse chymase locus, that also encodes a number of mast cell specific proteases. In line with this, mast cells can express granzyme B, although how this is regulated and their ability to express other granzymes is less well studied. We therefore examined how IL-33, a cytokine able to activate mast cells but not induce degranulation, regulated granzyme B and C levels in mast cells. Granzyme C, but not B, mRNA was strongly upregulated in bone marrow-derived mast cells following IL-33 stimulation and there was a corresponding increase in granzyme C protein. These increases in both granzyme C mRNA and protein were blocked by a combination of the p38alpha/beta MAPK inhibitor VX745 and the MEK1/2 inhibitor PD184352, which blocks the activation of ERK1/2. ERK1/2 and p38alpha activate the downstream kinases MSK1 and 2, and IL-33 stimulated the phosphorylation of MSK1 and its substrate CREB in an ERK1/2 and p38 dependent manner. The promoter for granzyme C contains a potential CREB binding site. Bone marrow derived mast cells from either MSK1/2 double knockout or CREB Ser133Ala knockin mice were unable to upregulate granzyme C. Together these results indicate that IL-33 induced granzyme C expression in mast cells is regulated by an MSK1/2-CREB dependent pathway

Original languageEnglish
Article numberBSR20221165
Number of pages13
JournalBioscience Reports
Issue number12
Early online date7 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2022


  • extracellular signal-regulated kinases
  • CREB
  • mast cell
  • p38 MAPK
  • interleukins
  • Myd88


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