IκB kinase ε (IKK-ε) has an essential role as a regulator of innate immunity, functioning downstream of pattern recognition receptors to modulate NF-κB and interferon (IFN) signaling. In the present study, we investigated IKK-ε activation following T cell receptor (TCR)/CD28 stimulation of primary CD4+ T cells and its role in the stimulation of a type I IFN response. IKK-ε was activated following TCR/CD28 stimulation of primary CD4+ T cells; however, in T cells treated with poly(I·C), TCR/CD28 costimulation blocked induction of IFN-β transcription. We demonstrated that IKK-ε phosphorylated the transcription factor IFN regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) at amino acid (aa) 215/219/221 in primary CD4+ T cells and blocked its transcriptional activity. At the mechanistic level, IRF-1 phosphorylation impaired the physical interaction between IRF-1 and the NF-κB RelA subunit and interfered with PCAF-mediated acetylation of NF-κB RelA. These results demonstrate that TCR/CD28 stimulation of primary T cells stimulates IKK-ε activation, which in turn contributes to suppression of IFN-β production. © 2014, American Society for Microbiology.
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