Tyrosine phosphorylation of Vav stimulates IL-6 production in mast cells by a Rac/c-Jun N-terminal kinase-dependent pathway

James S. Song, Hana Haleem-Smith, Ramachandran Arudchandran, Jorge Gomez, Patricia M. Scott, John F. Mill, Tse Hua Tan, Juan Rivera

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57 Scopus citations


This study investigates whether the guanine nucleotide exchange activity of Vav is linked to cytokine production in mast cells. Overexpression of Vav in the RBL-2H3 mast cell line resulted in the constitutive tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of Vav. We analyzed the functional effect of Vav overexpression on cytokine production. IL-2 and IL-6 mRNA levels were dramatically increased in Vav-overexpressing cells and correlated with increased NF-AT activity. Little or no effect was observed on the mRNA levels of IL-3, IL-4, GM-CSF, TNF-α, and TGF-β, FcεRI engagement did not further enhance IL-2 and IL-6 mRNA levels and only slightly enhanced NF-AT activity, but dramatically increased the mRNA levels of other tested cytokines. To understand the signal transduction required, we focused primarily on IL-6 induction by measuring mitogen-activated protein kinase activity and analyzing the effects of mutant or dominant negative forms of Vav, Rac1, and c-Jun N-terminal kinase-1 (JNK1). Vav overexpression resulted in the constitutive activation of JNK1 with little or no effect on p38 mitogen- activated protein kinase and FRK2. This was dependent on Vav-mediated activation of Rac1 as a Db1 domain-mutated Vav, inactive Rac N17, and inactive JNK1 down-regulated the Vav-induced JNK1 or IL-6 responses. Vav expression, but not expression of domain-mutated Vav, increased IL-6 secretion from nonimmortalized bone marrow-derived mast cells upon FcεRI engagement. We conclude that Vav phosphorylation contributes to IL-6 induction in mast cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)802-810
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 1999


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