Oxidation-Dependent Activation of Src Kinase Mediates Epithelial IL-33 Production and Signaling during Acute Airway Allergen Challenge

Christopher M. Dustin, Aida Habibovic, Milena Hristova, Caspar Schiffers, Carolyn R. Morris, Miao-Chong Joy Lin, Robert A. Bauer, David E. Heppner, Nirav Daphtary, Minara Aliyeva, Albert van der Vliet*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The respiratory epithelium forms the first line of defense against inhaled pathogens and acts as an important source of innate cytokine responses to environmental insults. One critical mediator of these responses is the IL-1 family cytokine IL-33, which is rapidly secreted upon acute epithelial injury as an alarmin and induces type 2 immune responses. Our recent work highlighted the importance of the NADPH oxidase dual oxidase 1 (DUOX1) in acute airway epithelial IL-33 secretion by various airborne allergens associated with H2O2 production and reduction-oxidation-dependent activation of Src kinases and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling. In this study, we show that IL-33 secretion in response to acute airway challenge with house dust mite (HDM) allergen critically depends on the activation of Src by a DUOX1-dependent oxidative mechanism. Intriguingly, HDM-induced epithelial IL-33 secretion was dramatically attenuated by small interfering RNA- or Ab-based approaches to block IL-33 signaling through its receptor IL1RL1 (ST2), indicating that HDM-induced IL-33 secretion includes a positive feed-forward mechanism involving ST2-dependent IL-33 signaling. Moreover, activation of type 2 cytokine responses by direct airway IL-33 administration was associated with ST2-dependent activation of DUOX1-mediated H2O2 production and reduction-oxidation-based activation of Src and EGFR and was attenuated in Duox1(-/-) and Src(+/-) mice, indicating that IL-33-induced epithelial signaling and subsequent airway responses involve DUOX1/Src-dependent pathways. Collectively, our findings suggest an intricate relationship between DUOX1, Src, and IL-33 signaling in the activation of innate type 2 immune responses to allergens, involving DUOX1-dependent epithelial Src/EGFR activation in initial IL-33 secretion and in subsequent IL-33 signaling through ST2 activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2989-2999
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2021



Cite this