Regulating the transcription, translation and secretion of cytokines is crucial for controlling the appropriate balance of inflammation. Here we report that the sorting receptor sortilin plays a key role in cytokine production. We observed interactions of sortilin with multiple cytokines including IFN-α, and sortilin depletion in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) led to a reduction of IFN-α secretion, suggesting a pivotal role of sortilin in the exocytic trafficking of IFN-α in pDCs. Moreover, sortilin mRNA was degraded posttranscriptionally upon stimulation with various TLR ligands. Poly-rC-binding protein 1 (PCBP1) recognized the C-rich element (CRE) in the 3' UTR of sortilin mRNA, and depletion of PCBP1 enhanced the degradation of sortilin transcripts, suggesting that PCBP1 can act as a trans-acting factor to stabilize sortilin transcripts. The nucleotide-binding ability of PCBP1 was impaired by zinc ions and alterations of intracellular zinc affect sortilin expression. PCBP1 may therefore control the stability of sortilin transcripts by sensing intracellular zinc levels. Collectively, our findings provide insights into the posttranslational regulation of cytokine production through the posttranscriptional control of sortilin expression by TLR signals.
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