Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Interferon regulating factor 5 (IRF5) is a multifunctional regulator of immune responses, and has a key pathogenic function in gut inflammation, but how IRF5 is modulated is still unclear. Having performed a kinase inhibitor library screening in macrophages, here we identify protein-tyrosine kinase 2-beta (PTK2B/PYK2) as a putative IRF5 kinase. PYK2-deficient macrophages display impaired endogenous IRF5 activation, leading to reduction of inflammatory gene expression. Meanwhile, a PYK2 inhibitor, defactinib, has a similar effect on IRF5 activation in vitro, and induces a transcriptomic signature in macrophages similar to that caused by IRF5 deficiency. Finally, defactinib reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines in human colon biopsies from patients with ulcerative colitis, as well as in a mouse colitis model. Our results thus implicate a function of PYK2 in regulating the inflammatory response in the gut via the IRF5 innate sensing pathway, thereby opening opportunities for related therapeutic interventions for inflammatory bowel diseases and other inflammatory conditions.

Original publication




Journal article


Nature communications

Publication Date





University of Oxford, Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, Oxford, United Kingdom.


Intestines, Cells, Cultured, Macrophages, Animals, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Humans, Mice, Colitis, Inflammation, Benzamides, Sulfonamides, Pyrazines, Cytokines, Gene Expression Profiling, Phosphorylation, Mutation, Male, Interferon Regulatory Factors, Focal Adhesion Kinase 2, HEK293 Cells, RAW 264.7 Cells