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Epithelial-intrinsic IKKa expression regulates group 3 innate lymphoid cell responses and antibacterial immunity

11th February, 2017
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Abstract Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are critical for maintaining epithelial barrier integrity at mucosal surfaces; however, the tissue-specific factors that regulate ILC responses remain poorly characterized. Using mice with intestinal epithelial cell (IEC)-specific deletions in either inhibitor of κB kinase (IKK)α or IKKβ, two critical regulators of NFκB activation, we demonstrate that IEC-intrinsic IKKα expression selectively regulates group 3 ILC (ILC3)-dependent antibacterial immunity in the intestine. Although IKKβ(ΔIEC) mice efficiently controlled Citrobacter rodentium infection, IKKα(ΔIEC) mice exhibited severe intestinal inflammation, increased bacterial dissemination to peripheral organs, and increased host mortality. Consistent with weakened innate immunity to C. rodentium, IKKα(ΔIEC) mice displayed impaired IL-22 production by RORγt(+) ILC3s, and therapeutic delivery of rIL-22 or transfer of sort-purified IL-22-competent ILCs from control mice could protect IKKα(ΔIEC) mice from C. rodentium-induced morbidity. Defective ILC3 responses in IKKα(ΔIEC) mice were associated with overproduction of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP) by IECs, which negatively regulated IL-22 production by ILC3s and impaired innate immunity to C. rodentium. IEC-intrinsic IKKα expression was similarly critical for regulation of intestinal inflammation after chemically induced intestinal damage and colitis. Collectively, these data identify a previously unrecognized role for epithelial cell-intrinsic IKKα expression and TSLP in regulating ILC3 responses required to maintain intestinal barrier immunity.


BacteriologyBiotechnologyImmunologyInfectious Diseases



The Rockefeller University Press


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Citation: Giacomin P.R,, Moy R.H., Noti M., Osborne L.C., Siracusa M.C., Alenghat T., Liu B., McCorkell K.A., Troy A.E., Rak G.D., Hu Y., May M.J., Ma H.L., Fouser L.A., Sonnenberg G.F. and Artis D. Epithelial-intrinsic IKKα expression regulates group 3 innate lymphoid cell responses and antibacterial immunity. J Exp Med. (2015);212(10):1513-28.

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