Translational control of NKT cell cytokine production by p38 MAPK

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Cell Differentiation; Cells, Cultured; Cytokines; Enzyme Activation; Liver Diseases; MAP Kinase Kinase 3; MAP Kinase Kinase 6; MAP Kinase Signaling System; Mice; Mice, Inbred BALB C; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Mice, Knockout; Mice, Transgenic; Natural Killer T-Cells; Protein Modification, Translational


Biochemistry | Cell Biology | Cellular and Molecular Physiology | Developmental Biology | Immunology and Infectious Disease | Molecular Biology


NKT cells are known to rapidly produce a large amount of cytokines upon activation. Although a number of signaling pathways that regulate the development of NKT cells have been identified, the signaling pathways involved in the regulation of NKT cell cytokine production remain unclear. In this study, we show that the p38 MAPK pathway is dispensable for the development of NKT cells. However, NKT cell cytokine production and NKT-mediated liver damage are highly dependent on activation of this pathway. p38 MAPK does not substantially affect cytokine gene expression in NKT cells, but it regulates the synthesis of cytokines through the Mnk-eIF4E pathway. Thus, in addition to gene expression, translational regulation by p38 MAPK could be a novel mechanism that contributes to the overall production of cytokine by NKT cells.

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Citation: J Immunol. 2011 Apr 1;186(7):4140-6. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1002614. Epub 2011 Mar 2. Link to article on publisher's site

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PubMed ID