RHBDL4-triggered downregulation of COPII adaptor protein TMED7 suppresses TLR4-mediated inflammatory signaling

Julia D Knopf, Susanne S Steigleder, Friederike Korn, Nathalie Kühnle, Marina Badenes, Marina Tauber, Sebastian J Theobald, Jan Rybniker, Colin Adrain, Marius K Lemberg

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The toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) is a central regulator of innate immunity that primarily recognizes bacterial lipopolysaccharide cell wall constituents to trigger cytokine secretion. We identify the intramembrane protease RHBDL4 as a negative regulator of TLR4 signaling. We show that RHBDL4 triggers degradation of TLR4's trafficking factor TMED7. This counteracts TLR4 transport to the cell surface. Notably, TLR4 activation mediates transcriptional upregulation of RHBDL4 thereby inducing a negative feedback loop to reduce TLR4 trafficking to the plasma membrane. This secretory cargo tuning mechanism prevents the over-activation of TLR4-dependent signaling in an in vitro Mycobacterium tuberculosis macrophage infection model and consequently alleviates septic shock in a mouse model. A hypomorphic RHBDL4 mutation linked to Kawasaki syndrome, an ill-defined inflammatory disorder in children, further supports the pathophysiological relevance of our findings. In this work, we identify an RHBDL4-mediated axis that acts as a rheostat to prevent over-activation of the TLR4 pathway.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1528
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Early online date07 Mar 2024
Publication statusEarly online date - 07 Mar 2024


  • Signal Transduction
  • Cell Membrane - metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides - metabolism
  • Child
  • Down-Regulation
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 - metabolism
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing - metabolism


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