Novel cross-talk within the IKK family controls innate immunity

Kristopher Clark, Mark Peggie, Lorna Plater, Ronald J. Sorcek, Erick R. R. Young, Jeffrey B. Madwed, Joanne Hough, Edward G. McIver, Philip Cohen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    236 Citations (Scopus)


    Members of the IKK {I kappa B [inhibitor of NF-kappa B (nuclear factor kappa B)] kinase} family play a central role in innate immunity by inducing NF-kappa B- and IRE [IFN (interferon) regulatory factor]-dependent gene transcription programmes required for the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and IFNs. However, the molecular mechanisms that activate these protein kinases and their complement of physiological substrates remain poorly defined. Using MRT67307, a novel inhibitor of IKK epsilon/TBK1 (TANK {TRAF [TNF (tumour-necrosis-factor)receptor-associated factor]-associated NF-kappa B activator}-binding kinase 1) and BI605906, a novel inhibitor of IKK beta, we demonstrate that two different signalling pathways participate in the activation of the IKK-related protein kinases by ligands that activate the IL-1 (interleukin-I), TLR (Toll-like receptor) 3 and TLR4 receptors. One signalling pathway is mediated by the canonical IKKs, which directly phosphorylate and activate IKK epsilon and TBK1, whereas the second pathway appears to culminate in the autocatalytic activation of the IKK-related kinases. In contrast, the TNF alpha-induced activation of the IKK-related kinases is mediated solely by the canonical IKKs. In turn, the IKK-related kinases phosphorylate the catalytic subunits of the canonical IKKs and their regulatory subunit NEMO (NF-kappa B essential modulator), which is associated with reduced IKK alpha/beta activity and NF-kappa B-dependent gene transcription. We also show that the canonical IKKs and the IKK-related kinases not only have unique physiological substrates, such as I kappa B alpha, p105, RelA (IKK alpha and IKK beta) and IRF3 (IKK epsilon and TBK1), but also have several substrates in common, including the catalytic and regulatory (NEMO and TANK) subunits of the IKKs themselves. Taken together, our studies reveal that the canonical IKKs and the IKK-related kinases regulate each other by an intricate network involving phosphorylation of their catalytic and regulatory (NEMO and TANK) subunits to balance their activities during innate immunity.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)93-104
    Number of pages12
    JournalBiochemical Journal
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2011


    • inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa B kinase (IKK)
    • interferon
    • nuclear factor kappa B essential modifier (NEMO)
    • Toll-like receptor (TLR); tumour necrosis factor-receptor-associated factor-associated nuclear factor kappa B activator-binding kinase 1 (TBK1)
    • NEMO
    • BETA


    Dive into the research topics of 'Novel cross-talk within the IKK family controls innate immunity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this