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Open Access Research article

Transcriptome analysis reveals a major impact of JAK protein tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2) on the expression of interferon-responsive and metabolic genes

Claus Vogl1*, Thomas Flatt2, Bernd Fuhrmann1, Elisabeth Hofmann1, Barbara Wallner1, Rita Stiefvater1, Pavel Kovarik3, Birgit Strobl1 and Mathias Müller14*

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Animal Breeding and Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria

2 Institute of Population Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria

3 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Max F Perutz Laboratories, University of Vienna, Dr Bohr-Gasse 9, A-1030 Vienna, Austria

4 Biomodels Austria, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1, A-1210 Vienna, Austria

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:199  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-199

Published: 25 March 2010

Abstract

Background

Tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2), a central component of Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling, has major effects on innate immunity and inflammation. Mice lacking Tyk2 are resistant to endotoxin shock induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), and Tyk2 deficient macrophages fail to efficiently induce interferon α/β after LPS treatment. However, how Tyk2 globally regulates transcription of downstream target genes remains unknown. Here we examine the regulatory role of Tyk2 in basal and inflammatory transcription by comparing gene expression profiles of peritoneal macrophages from Tyk2 mutant and wildtype control mice that were either kept untreated or exposed to LPS for six hours.

Results

Untreated Tyk2-deficient macrophages exhibited reduced expression of immune response genes relative to wildtype, in particular those that contain interferon response elements (IRF/ISRE), whereas metabolic genes showed higher expression. Upon LPS challenge, IFN-inducible genes (including those with an IRF/ISRE transcription factor binding-site) were strongly upregulated in both Tyk2 mutant and wildtype cells and reached similar expression levels. In contrast, metabolic gene expression was strongly decreased in wildtype cells upon LPS treatment, while in Tyk2 mutant cells the expression of these genes remained relatively unchanged, which exaggerated differences already present at the basal level. We also identified several 5'UR transcription factor binding-sites and 3'UTR regulatory elements that were differentially induced between Tyk2 deficient and wildtype macrophages and that have not previously been implicated in immunity.

Conclusions

Although Tyk2 is essential for the full LPS response, its function is mainly required for baseline expression but not LPS-induced upregulation of IFN-inducible genes. Moreover, Tyk2 function is critical for the downregulation of metabolic genes upon immune challenge, in particular genes involved in lipid metabolism. Together, our findings suggest an important regulatory role for Tyk2 in modulating the relationship between immunity and metabolism.