Monophosphoryl lipid A induces protection against LPS in medullary thick ascending limb through induction of Tollip and negative regulation of IRAK-1.


LPS inhibits absorption in the medullary thick ascending limb (MTAL) through a Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88)-extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway that is upregulated by sepsis. Pretreatment with the nontoxic immunomodulator monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) prevents inhibition by LPS through activation of a TLR4-TIR-domain-containing adaptor-inducing interferon-β (TRIF)-phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway that prevents LPS-induced ERK activation. Here, we identified the molecular mechanisms that underlie the protective inhibitory interaction between the MPLA-PI3K and LPS-ERK pathways. Treatment of mouse MTALs with LPS in vitro increased phosphorylation of IL-1 receptor-associated kinase (IRAK)-1, a critical mediator of LPS signaling downstream of TLR4-MyD88. Activation of ERK by LPS was eliminated by a selective IRAK-1 inhibitor, establishing IRAK-1 as the upstream mediator of ERK activation. Pretreatment of MTALs with MPLA in vitro prevented LPS-induced IRAK-1 activation; this effect was dependent on PI3K. Treatment of MTALs with MPLA increased expression of Toll-interacting protein (Tollip), an inducible protein that negatively regulates LPS signaling by inhibiting IRAK-1. The MPLA-induced increase in Tollip protein level was prevented by PI3K inhibitors. In coimmunoprecipitation experiments, MPLA increased the amount of Tollip stably bound to IRAK-1, an interaction that inhibits IRAK-1 activation. These results support a mechanism whereby MPLA increases Tollip expression in the MTAL through a PI3K-dependent pathway. Tollip, in turn, inhibits LPS-induced TLR4 signaling by suppressing activation of IRAK-1, thereby preventing activation of ERK that inhibits absorption. These studies show that MPLA induces reprogramming of MTAL cells that protects against LPS stimulation and identify IRAK-1 and Tollip as new therapeutic targets to prevent renal tubule dysfunction in response to infectious and inflammatory stimuli.