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Mice lacking Tbk1 activity exhibit immune cell infiltrates in multiple tissues and increased susceptibility to LPS-induced lethality.

Marchlik E, Thakker P, Carlson T, Jiang Z, Ryan M, Marusic S, Goutagny N, Kuang W, Askew GR, Roberts V, Benoit S, Zhou T, Ling V, Pfeifer R, Stedman N, Fitzgerald KA, Lin LL, Hall JP
Journal of leukocyte biology


TBK1 is critical for immunity against microbial pathogens that activate TLR4- and TLR3-dependent signaling pathways. To address the role of TBK1 in inflammation, mice were generated that harbor two copies of a mutant Tbk1 allele. This Tbk1(Δ) allele encodes a truncated Tbk1(Δ) protein that is catalytically inactive and expressed at very low levels. Upon LPS stimulation, macrophages from Tbk1(Δ/Δ) mice produce normal levels of proinflammatory cytokines (e.g., TNF-α), but IFN-β and RANTES expression and IRF3 DNA-binding activity are ablated. Three-month-old Tbk1(Δ/Δ) mice exhibit mononuclear and granulomatous cell infiltrates in multiple organs and inflammatory cell infiltrates in their skin, and they harbor a 2-fold greater amount of circulating monocytes than their Tbk1(+/+) and Tbk1(+/Δ) littermates. Skin from 2-week-old Tbk1(Δ/Δ) mice is characterized by reactive changes, including hyperkeratosis, hyperplasia, necrosis, inflammatory cell infiltrates, and edema. In response to LPS challenge, 3-month-old Tbk1(Δ/Δ) mice die more quickly and in greater numbers than their Tbk1(+/+) and Tbk1(+/Δ) counterparts. This lethality is accompanied by an overproduction of several proinflammatory cytokines in the serum of Tbk1(Δ/Δ) mice, including TNF-α, GM-CSF, IL-6, and KC. This overproduction of serum cytokines in Tbk1(Δ/Δ) mice following LPS challenge and their increased susceptibility to LPS-induced lethality may result from the reactions of their larger circulating monocyte compartment and their greater numbers of extravasated immune cells.

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