In eukaryotes, the Mediator complex has important roles in regulation of transcription by RNA polymerase II. Mediator is a large complex with more than 20 subunits that form head, middle, tail and CDK/cyclin modules. Among them, CDK8 and/or CDK19 (CDK8/19), and their counterpart cyclin C, form the CDK/cyclin module together with Mediator subunits MED12 and MED13. Despite evidences of both activation and repression, the precise functional roles of CDK8/19 in transcription are still elusive. Our previous results indicate that CDK8/19 recruits epigenetic regulators to repress immunoresponse genes. Here, this study focused on Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which exert innate immune responses through recognition of pathogen-associated molecular patterns and examined the functional roles of CDK8/19. As a result, CDK8/19 regulated transcription of inflammatory genes on stimulation of TLR9 in myeloma-derived RPMI8226 cells, which led to expression of inflammation-associated genes such as IL8, IL10, PTX3 and CCL2. Mediator subunits CDK8/19 and MED1, inflammation-related transcriptional activator NF-κB and C/EBPβ, and general transcription factors TFIIE and TFIIB colocalized at the promoter regions of these genes under this condition. Our results show that CDK8/19 positively regulates inflammatory gene transcription in cooperation with NF-κB and C/EBPβ on stimulation of TLR9.
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