c-Rel regulates interleukin 12 p70 expression in CD8+ dendritic cells by specifically inducing p35 gene transcription

R. Grumont, H. Hochrein, M. O'Keeffe, R. Gugasyan, C. White, I. Caminschi, W. Cook, S. Gerondakis

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Interleukin 12 (IL-12) is a 70-kD proinflammatory cytokine produced by antigen presenting cells that is essential for the induction of T helper type 1 development. It comprises 35-kD (p35) and 40-kD (p40) polypeptides encoded by separate genes that are induced by a range of stimuli that include lipopolysaccharide (LPS), DNA, and CD40 ligand. To date, the regulation of IL-12 expression at the transcriptional level has mainly been examined in macrophages and restricted almost exclusively to the p40 gene. Here we show that in CD8+ dendritic cells, major producers of IL-12 p70, the Rel/nuclear factor (NF)-κB signaling pathway is necessary for the induction of IL-12 in response to microbial stimuli. In contrast to macrophages which require c-Rel for p40 transcription, in CD8+ dendritic cells, the induced expression of p35 rather than p40 by inactivated Staphylococcus aureus, DNA, or LPS is c-Rel dependent and regulated directly by c-Rel complexes binding to the p35 promoter. This data establishes the IL-12 p35 gene as a new target of c-Rel and shows that the regulation of IL-12 p70 expression at the transcriptional level by Rel/NF-κB is controlled through both the p35 and p40 genes in a cell type-specific fashion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1031
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • C-rel
  • Dendritic cells
  • IL-12
  • p35 gene
  • Transcription

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