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Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a product of Gram-negative bacteria, is potent mediator of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha production by myeloid/macrophage cells. Inhibitors capable of blocking the signaling events that result in TNF alpha production could provide useful therapeutics for treating septic shock and other inflammatory diseases. Broad spectrum tyrosine inhibitors are known to inhibit TNF alpha production, however, no particular family of tyrosine kinases has been shown to be essential for this process. Here we show that the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk)-deficient mononuclear cells from X-linked agammaglobulinemia patients have impaired LPS-induced TNF alpha production and that LPS rapidly induces Btk kinase activity in normal monocytes. In addition, adenoviral overexpression of Btk in normal human monocytes enhanced TNF alpha production. We examined the role of Btk in TNF alpha production using luciferase reporter adenoviral constructs and have established that overexpression of Btk results in the stabilization of TNF alpha mRNA via the 3' untranslated region. Stimulation with LPS also induced the activation of related tyrosine kinase, Tec, suggesting that the Tec family kinases are important components for LPS-induced TNF alpha production. This study provides the first clear evidence that tyrosine kinases of the Tec family, in particular Btk, are key elements of LPS-induced TNF alpha production and consequently may provide valuable therapeutic targets for intervention in inflammatory conditions.

Original publication




Journal article


J Exp Med

Publication Date





1603 - 1611


Adolescent, Adult, Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase, Agammaglobulinemia, Cells, Cultured, Enzyme Activation, Humans, I-kappa B Proteins, Leukocytes, Mononuclear, Lipopolysaccharides, Macrophage Colony-Stimulating Factor, Male, NF-KappaB Inhibitor alpha, Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha