Lipopolysaccharide induces activation of the Raf-1/MAP kinase pathway. A putative role for Raf-1 in the induction of the IL-1 beta and the TNF-alpha genes
Bacterial LPS is a potent macrophage activator. The early steps in LPS signal transduction involve the tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of a number of kinases of the src family, and inhibition of this pathway causes a severe impairment in the production of the cytokines TNF-alpha and IL-1 beta. We find that LPS-induced macrophages activation also involves the Raf-1 kinase, a key component in mitogenic signal transduction. Treatment of BAC-1.2F5 macrophages with LPS causes phosphorylation and activation of Raf-1. This is paralleled by the stimulation of MEK-1 and MAP-kinase activity and by the phosphorylation of the transcription factor Elk-1, a nuclear target of MAP-kinase. Activation of the Raf/MAP-kinase pathway was inhibited upon pretreatment of the cells with genistein, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Raf-1 must thus lie downstream of tyrosine kinase in LPS signal transduction.