During infection, transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) is essential for the control of host defense. Here we show that the microtubule-associated guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF)-H1, is required for the phosphorylation of IRF5 by microbial muramyl-dipeptides (MDP), the minimal structural motif of peptidoglycan of both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Specifically, GEF-H1 functions in a microtubule based recognition system for microbial peptidoglycans that mediates the activation of IKKε which we identify as a new upstream IKKα/β and IRF5 kinase. The deletion of GEF-H1 or dominant-negative variants of GEF-H1 prevent activation of IKKε and phosphorylation of IRF5. The GEF-H1-IKKε-IRF5 signaling axis functions independent of NOD-like receptors and is critically required for the recognition of intracellular peptidoglycans and host defenses against Listeria monocytogenes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy