Development of an in vitro test system measuring transcriptional downregulatory activities on IL-13

Jeong June Choi, Bo Kyung Park, Sunyoung Park, Chi Young Yun, Dong Hee Kim, Jin Sook Kim, Eun Sook Hwang, Mirim Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Interleukin-13 (IL-13) has been proposed as a therapeutic target for bronchial asthma as it plays crucial roles in the pathogenesis of the disease. We developed an in vitro test system measuring transcriptional downregulatory activities on IL-13 as a primary screening method to select drug candidates from natural products. The promoter region of IL-13 (-2,048 to +1) was cloned into the upstream of a luciferase gene in the plasmid pGL4.14 containing the hygromycin resistance gene as a selection marker, generating pGL4.14-IL-13. The EL-4 thymoma and RBL-2H3 mast cells transiently expressing this plasmid highly produced the luciferase activities by responding to PI (PMA and ionomycin) stimulation up to 8-fold and 13-fold compared with the control, respectively, whereas cyclosporin A, a well-known antiasthmatic agent, significantly downregulated the activities. The BF1 clone of RBL-2H3 cells constitutively expressing pGL4.14-IL-13 was established by selecting surviving cells under a constant lethal dose of hygromycin treatment. The feasibility of this system was evaluated by measuring the downregulatory activities of 354 natural products on the IL-13 promoter using the BF1 clone. An extract from Morus bombycis (named TBRC 156) significantly inhibited PI-induced luciferase activities and IL-13 mRNA expression, but not the protein expression. Fisetin (named TBRC 353) inhibited not only PI-induced luciferase activities and mRNA expression, but also the IL-13 protein secretion, whereas myricetin (named TBRC 354) could not suppress the IL-13 expression at all. Our data indicated that this in vitro test system is able to discriminate the effects on IL-13 expression, and furthermore, that it might be suitable as a simple and time-saving primary screening system to select antiasthmatic agents by measuring transcriptional activities of the IL-13 promoter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-337
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 28 Mar 2009


  • IL-13
  • Luciferase assay
  • Natural therapeutic candidates for allergic disease
  • PGL4,14-IL-13 expressing stable cell lines


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