Negative regulation of TLR-signaling pathways by activating transcription factor-3

Mark M Whitmore, Amaya Iparraguirre, Lindsey Kubelka, Wolfgang Weninger, Tsonwin Hai, Bryan Raymond George Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

170 Citations (Scopus)


Activating transcription factor-3 (ATF3) is rapidly induced by LPS in mouse macrophages and regulates TLR4 responses. We show that ATF3 is rapidly induced by various TLRs in mouse macrophages and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (DCs), as well as plasmacytoid and myeloid subsets of human DCs. In primary macrophages from mice with a targeted deletion of the atf3 gene (ATF3-knockout (KO)), TLR-stimulated levels of IL-12 and IL-6 were elevated relative to responses in wild-type macrophages. Similarly, targeted deletion of atf3 correlated with enhanced responsiveness of myeloid DCs to TLR activation as measured by IL-12 secretion. Ectopic expression of ATF3 antagonized TLR-stimulated IL-12p40 activation in a reporter assay. In vivo, CpG-oligodeoxynucleotide, a TLR9 agonist, given i.p. to ATF3-KO mice resulted in enhanced cytokine production from splenocytes. Furthermore, while ATF3-KO mice challenged with a sublethal dose of PR8 influenza virus were delayed in body weight recovery in comparison to wild type, the ATF3-KO mice showed higher titers of serum neutralizing Ab against PR8 5 mo postinfection. Thus, ATF3 behaves as a negative regulatory transcription factor in TLR pathways and, accordingly, deficiency in atf3 alters responses to immunological challenges in vivo. ATF3 dysregulation merits further exploration in diseases such as type I diabetes and cancer, where altered innate immunity has been implicated in their pathogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3622 - 3630
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Cite this