IL-12 and IL-23 are important host defense factors produced by APCs against certain intracellular and extracellular pathogens. Their dysregulation has also been implicated in several autoimmune diseases. The nucleotide polymorphism in the promoter region of Il12b (rs41292470 consisting of the long or short allele) encoding the shared subunit of IL-12 and IL-23, p40, has been reported to associate with susceptibility to infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders. How these genetic variants impact Il12b expression at the molecular level was unclear. We established an Il12b promoter-luciferase reporter system containing the long or short allele driving the reporter gene expression and found that the long allele (infection-resistant) displayed ∼2-fold higher transcriptional activity than the short allele (infection-susceptible), associated with a selective and differential nuclear binding activity to the two alleles in activated macrophages. DNA pull-down assays coupled with mass spectrometry analyses identified the specific DNA binding activity as poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1). Small hairpin RNA–mediated knockdown of the endogenous PARP-1 expression resulted in reduced p40 mRNA expression and Il12b promoter activity. Bone marrow–derived macrophages from PARP-1–deficient mice had decreased p40 expression at both mRNA and protein levels. Furthermore, selective PARP-1 inhibitors resulted in impaired production of IL-12p40 and IL-23 in bone–marrow derived macrophages and PBMCs. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay revealed that PARP-1 could bind specifically to Il12b in LPS-stimulated macrophages. Our study opens the way for further elucidating the molecular mechanism whereby allele-specific immune responses to foreign and self-antigens mediated by IL-12/IL-23 are controlled in an individually variable manner.
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant 1R21AI110815 (to X.M.) and by China Natural Science Foundation Grants 31370903 and 31670913 (to X.M.). Q.Z. was supported by a scholarship from the China Scholarship Council.
Abbreviations used in this article:
- bone marrow–derived macrophage
- chromatin immunoprecipitation
- long allele
- poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1
- short allele
- small hairpin RNA
- single nucleotide polymorphism
- Received November 7, 2016.
- Accepted January 23, 2017.
- Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.