Interleukin-12 (IL-12), p80, and IL-23 are structurally related cytokines sharing a p40 subunit. We have recently demonstrated that celecoxib and its COX-2-independent analogue 4-trifluoromethyl-celecoxib (TFM-C) inhibit secretion but not transcription of IL-12 (p35/p40) and p80 (p40/p40). This is associated with a mechanism involving altered cytokine-chaperone interaction in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In the present study, we found that celecoxib and TFM-C also block secretion of IL-23 (p40/p19 heterodimers). Given the putative ER-centric mode of these compounds, we performed a comprehensive RTPCR analysis of 23 ER-resident chaperones/foldases and associated co-factors. This revealed that TFM-C induced 1.5-3-fold transcriptional up-regulation of calreticulin, GRP78, GRP94, GRP170, ERp72, ERp57, ERdj4, and ERp29. However, more significantly, a 7-fold up-regulation of homocysteine-inducible ER protein (HERP) was observed. HERP is part of a high molecular mass protein complex involved in ER-associated protein degradation (ERAD). Using co-immunoprecipitation assays, we show that TFM-C induces protein interaction of p80 and IL-23 with HERP. Both HERP siRNA knockdown and HERP overexpression coupled to cycloheximide chase assays revealed that HERP is necessary for degradation of intracellularly retained p80 by TFM-C. Thus, our data suggest that targeting cytokine folding in the ER by small molecule drugs could be therapeutically exploited to alleviate in appropriate inflammation in autoimmune conditions.
McLaughlin, M., Alloza, I., Quoc, H. P., Scott, C., Hirabayashi, Y., & Vandenbroeck, K. (2010). Inhibition of Secretion of Interleukin (IL)-12/IL-23 Family Cytokines by 4-Trifluoromethyl-celecoxib Is Coupled to Degradation via the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Protein HERP. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 285(10), 6960-6969. https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M109.056614