Thrombin plays a crucial role in lung inflammatory diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Thrombin induces the release of interleukin-8 (IL-8)/CXCL8 by lung epithelial cells, and this phenomenon plays a vital role in lung inflammation. Our previous studies have indicated that thrombin stimulates IL-8/CXCL8 expression through PI3K/Akt/IκB kinase (IKK)α/β/nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) and p300 pathways in human lung epithelial cells. In the present study, we explored the roles of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and p70S6 kinase (p70S6K) in thrombin-induced NF-κB activation and IL-8/CXCL8 release in human lung epithelial cells. In this study, we found that rapamycin (an mTOR inhibitor) and p70S6K siRNA diminished thrombin-induced IL-8/CXCL8 release. Thrombin induced mTOR Ser2448 phosphorylation and p70S6K Thr389 phosphorylation in a time-dependent manner. Moreover, rapamycin attenuated thrombin-stimulated p70S6K phosphorylation. We also found that transfection of cells with the dominant negative mutant of Akt (Akt DN) reduced the thrombin-induced increase in mTOR phosphorylation and p70S6K phosphorylation. Moreover, thrombin-stimulated p300 phosphorylation was attenuated by Akt DN, rapamycin, and p70S6K siRNA. Thrombin triggered p70S6K translocation from the cytosol to the nucleus in a time-dependent manner. Thrombin induced the complex formation of p70S6K, p300, and p65; acetylation of p65 Lys310, and recruitment of p70S6K, p300, and p65 to the κB-binding site of the IL-8/CXCL8 promoter region. In conclusion, these results indicate that thrombin initiates the Akt-dependent mTOR/p70S6K signaling pathway to promote p300 phosphorylation and NF-κB activation and finally induces IL-8/CXCL8 release in human lung epithelial cells.
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