House dust mites (HDMs) are a common source of respiratory allergens responsible for allergic asthma and innate immune responses in human diseases. Since HDMs are critical factors in the triggering of allergen-induced airway mucosa from allergic asthma, we aimed to investigate the mechanisms of Toll-like receptors (TLR) in the signaling of the HDM extract that is involved in mucus hypersecretion and airway inflammation through the engagement of innate immunity. Previously, we reported that the somatic nuclear autoantigenic sperm protein (sNASP)/tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) axis controls the initiation of TLRs to maintain the homeostasis of the innate immune response. The present study showed that the HDM extract stimulated the biogenesis of Mucin 5AC (MUC5AC) in bronchial epithelial cells via the TLR2/4 signaling pathway involving MyD88 and TRAF6. Specifically, sNASP binds to TRAF6 in unstimulated bronchial epithelial cells to prevent the activation of TRAF6-depenedent kinases. Upon on HDMs’ stimulation, sNASP is phosphorylated, leading to the activation of TRAF6 downstream of the p38 MAPK and NF-κB signaling pathways. Further, NASP-knockdown enhanced TRAF6 signaling and MUC5AC biogenesis. In the HDM-induced mouse asthma model, we found that the HDM extract promoted airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR), MUC5AC, and allergen-specific IgE production as well as IL-5 and IL-13 for recruiting inflammatory cells. Treatment with the PEP-NASP peptide, a selective TRAF6-blocking peptide, ameliorated HDM-induced asthma in mice. In conclusion, this study indicated that the sNASP/TRAF6 axis plays a regulatory role in asthma by modulating mucus overproduction, and the PEP-NASP peptide might be a potential target for asthma treatment.
- Cell Cycle Proteins
- Disease Models, Animal
- Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
- Mucin 5AC/genetics
- Nuclear Proteins/metabolism
- Respiratory Mucosa/metabolism
- TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 6/metabolism