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      Anthrax Lethal Factor Cleavage of Nlrp1 Is Required for Activation of the Inflammasome


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          NOD-like receptor (NLR) proteins (Nlrps) are cytosolic sensors responsible for detection of pathogen and danger-associated molecular patterns through unknown mechanisms. Their activation in response to a wide range of intracellular danger signals leads to formation of the inflammasome, caspase-1 activation, rapid programmed cell death (pyroptosis) and maturation of IL-1β and IL-18. Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) induces the caspase-1-dependent pyroptosis of mouse and rat macrophages isolated from certain inbred rodent strains through activation of the NOD-like receptor (NLR) Nlrp1 inflammasome. Here we show that LT cleaves rat Nlrp1 and this cleavage is required for toxin-induced inflammasome activation, IL-1 β release, and macrophage pyroptosis. These results identify both a previously unrecognized mechanism of activation of an NLR and a new, physiologically relevant protein substrate of LT.

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          Anthrax lethal toxin (LT) is a protease which can induce rapid death of macrophages accompanied by activation and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. The previously identified cellular substrates for this toxin have not been shown to play a role in this rapid cell death. This report identifies a new substrate for LT, and demonstrates that its cleavage by the toxin is required for macrophage death. The substrate, Nlrp1, is a member of a large family of intracellular sensors of danger. These sensors, once activated, form a multiprotein complex called the inflammasome and are essential to the host innate immune response. The mechanism of activation for these sensors is not known. The demonstration of cleavage-mediated activation of Nlrp1 in this study represents the first report on a direct biochemical mechanism for inflammasome activation.

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          Most cited references19

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          The inflammasomes: guardians of the body.

          The innate immune system relies on its capacity to rapidly detect invading pathogenic microbes as foreign and to eliminate them. The discovery of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) provided a class of membrane receptors that sense extracellular microbes and trigger antipathogen signaling cascades. More recently, intracellular microbial sensors have been identified, including NOD-like receptors (NLRs). Some of the NLRs also sense nonmicrobial danger signals and form large cytoplasmic complexes called inflammasomes that link the sensing of microbial products and metabolic stress to the proteolytic activation of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1beta and IL-18. The NALP3 inflammasome has been associated with several autoinflammatory conditions including gout. Likewise, the NALP3 inflammasome is a crucial element in the adjuvant effect of aluminum and can direct a humoral adaptive immune response. In this review, we discuss the role of NLRs, and in particular the inflammasomes, in the recognition of microbial and danger components and the role they play in health and disease.
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            The NLRC4 inflammasome receptors for bacterial flagellin and type III secretion apparatus.

            Inflammasomes are large cytoplasmic complexes that sense microbial infections/danger molecules and induce caspase-1 activation-dependent cytokine production and macrophage inflammatory death. The inflammasome assembled by the NOD-like receptor (NLR) protein NLRC4 responds to bacterial flagellin and a conserved type III secretion system (TTSS) rod component. How the NLRC4 inflammasome detects the two bacterial products and the molecular mechanism of NLRC4 inflammasome activation are not understood. Here we show that NAIP5, a BIR-domain NLR protein required for Legionella pneumophila replication in mouse macrophages, is a universal component of the flagellin-NLRC4 pathway. NAIP5 directly and specifically interacted with flagellin, which determined the inflammasome-stimulation activities of different bacterial flagellins. NAIP5 engagement by flagellin promoted a physical NAIP5-NLRC4 association, rendering full reconstitution of a flagellin-responsive NLRC4 inflammasome in non-macrophage cells. The related NAIP2 functioned analogously to NAIP5, serving as a specific inflammasome receptor for TTSS rod proteins such as Salmonella PrgJ and Burkholderia BsaK. Genetic analysis of Chromobacterium violaceum infection revealed that the TTSS needle protein CprI can stimulate NLRC4 inflammasome activation in human macrophages. Similarly, CprI is specifically recognized by human NAIP, the sole NAIP family member in human. The finding that NAIP proteins are inflammasome receptors for bacterial flagellin and TTSS apparatus components further predicts that the remaining NAIP family members may recognize other unidentified microbial products to activate NLRC4 inflammasome-mediated innate immunity. © 2011 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved
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              Innate immune recognition of bacterial ligands by NAIPs dictates inflammasome specificity

              Inflammasomes are a family of cytosolic multiprotein complexes that initiate innate immune responses to pathogenic microbes by activating the CASPASE1 (CASP1) protease 1,2 . Although genetic data support a critical role for inflammasomes in immune defense and inflammatory diseases 3 , the molecular basis by which individual inflammasomes respond to specific stimuli remains poorly understood. The inflammasome that contains the NLRC4 (NLR family, CARD domain containing C4) protein was previously shown to be activated in response to two distinct bacterial proteins, flagellin 4,5 and PrgJ 6 , a conserved component of pathogen-associated type III secretion systems. However, direct binding between NLRC4 and flagellin or PrgJ has never been demonstrated. A homolog of NLRC4, NAIP5 (NLR family, Apoptosis Inhibitory Protein 5), has been implicated in activation of NLRC4 7–11 , but is widely assumed to play only an auxiliary role 1,2 , since NAIP5 is often dispensable for NLRC4 activation 7,8 . However, Naip5 is a member of a small multigene family 12 , raising the possibility of redundancy and functional specialization among Naip genes. Indeed, we show here that different NAIP paralogs dictate the specificity of the NLRC4 inflammasome for distinct bacterial ligands. In particular, we found that activation of endogenous NLRC4 by bacterial PrgJ requires NAIP2, a previously uncharacterized member of the NAIP gene family, whereas NAIP5 and NAIP6 activate NLRC4 specifically in response to bacterial flagellin. We dissected the biochemical mechanism underlying the requirement for NAIP proteins by use of a reconstituted NLRC4 inflammasome system. We found that NAIP proteins control ligand-dependent oligomerization of NLRC4 and that NAIP2/NLRC4 physically associates with PrgJ but not flagellin, whereas NAIP5/NLRC4 associates with flagellin but not PrgJ. Taken together, our results identify NAIPs as immune sensor proteins and provide biochemical evidence for a simple receptor-ligand model for activation of the NAIP/NLRC4 inflammasomes.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS Pathog
                PLoS Pathog
                PLoS Pathogens
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                March 2012
                March 2012
                29 March 2012
                : 8
                : 3
                [1]Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America
                The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, United States of America
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: JL ZLN SHL MM. Performed the experiments: JL ZLN KAH MAG RF MM. Analyzed the data: JL ZLN SHL KAH RF MM. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: SHL SL IS RF. Wrote the paper: MM JL ZLN SHL.

                This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
                Page count
                Pages: 7
                Research Article

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                Infectious disease & Microbiology


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