Innate immune receptors have a key role in immune surveillance by sensing microorganisms and initiating protective immune responses. However, the innate immune system is a classic 'double-edged sword' that can overreact to pathogens, which can have deleterious effects and lead to clinical manifestations. Recent studies have unveiled the complexity of innate immune receptors that function as sensors of Plasmodium spp. in the vertebrate host. This Review highlights the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which Plasmodium infection is sensed by different families of innate immune receptors. We also discuss how these events mediate both host resistance to infection and the pathogenesis of malaria.
The innate immune system must coordinate elaborate signaling pathways to turn on expression of hundreds of genes to provide protection against pathogens and resolve acute inflammation. Multiple genes within distinct functional categories are coordinately and temporally regulated by transcriptional on and off switches in response to distinct external stimuli. Three classes of transcription factors act together with transcriptional coregulators and chromatin-modifying complexes to control these programs. In addition, newer studies implicate long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) as additional regulators of these responses. LncRNAs promote, fine-tune, and restrain the inflammatory program. In this study, we provide an overview of gene regulation and the emerging importance of lncRNAs in the immune system.
Citrobacter rodentium is a mucosal pathogen of mice that shares several pathogenic mechanisms with enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and enterohaemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), which are two clinically important human gastrointestinal pathogens. Thus, C. rodentium has long been used as a model to understand the molecular basis of EPEC and EHEC infection in vivo. In this Review, we discuss recent studies in which C. rodentium has been used to study mucosal immunology, including the deregulation of intestinal inflammatory responses during bacteria-induced colitis and the role of the intestinal microbiota in mediating resistance to colonization by enteric pathogens. These insights should help to elucidate the roles of mucosal inflammatory responses and the microbiota in the virulence of enteric pathogens.
Inflammasomes are central mediators of host defense to a wide range of microbial pathogens. The nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat containing family (NLR), pyrin domain-containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome plays a key role in triggering caspase-1-dependent IL-1? maturation and resistance to fungal dissemination in Candida albicans infection. ?-Glucans are major components of fungal cell walls that trigger IL-1? secretion in both murine and human immune cells. In this study, we sought to determine the contribution of ?-glucans to C. albicans-induced inflammasome responses in mouse dendritic cells. We show that the NLRP3-apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing caspase recruitment domain protein-caspase-1 inflammasome is absolutely critical for IL-1? production in response to ?-glucans. Interestingly, we also found that both complement receptor 3 (CR3) and dectin-1 play a crucial role in coordinating ?-glucan-induced IL-1? processing as well as a cell death response. In addition to the essential role of caspase-1, we identify an important role for the proapoptotic protease caspase-8 in promoting ?-glucan-induced cell death and NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent IL-1? maturation. A strong requirement for CR3 and caspase-8 also was found for NLRP3-dependent IL-1? production in response to heat-killed C. albicans. Taken together, these results define the importance of dectin-1, CR3, and caspase-8, in addition to the canonical NLRP3 inflammasome, in mediating ?-glucan- and C. albicans-induced innate responses in dendritic cells. Collectively, these findings establish a novel link between ?-glucan recognition receptors and the inflammatory proteases caspase-8 and caspase-1 in coordinating cytokine secretion and cell death in response to immunostimulatory fungal components.
The inflammasomes are multiprotein complexes that activate caspase-1 in response to infections and stress, resulting in the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Here we report that I?B kinase ? (IKK?) is a critical negative regulator of apoptosis-associated specklike protein containing a C-terminal caspase-activation-andrecruitment (CARD) domain (ASC)-dependent inflammasomes. IKK? controls the inflammasome at the level of the adaptor ASC, which interacts with IKK? in the nucleus of resting macrophages in an IKK? kinase-dependent manner. Loss of IKK? kinase activity results in inflammasome hyperactivation. Mechanistically, the downstream nuclear effector IKK-related kinase (IKKi) facilitates translocation of ASC from the nucleus to the perinuclear area during inflammasome activation. ASC remains under the control of IKK? in the perinuclear area following translocation of the ASC/IKK? complex. Signal 2 of NLRP3 activation leads to inhibition of IKK? kinase activity through the recruitment of PP2A, allowing ASC to participate in NLRP3 inflammasome assembly. Taken together, these findings reveal a IKKi-IKK?-ASC axis that serves as a common regulatory mechanism for ASC-dependent inflammasomes.
TLR4 interactor with leucine-rich repeats (TRIL) is a brain-enriched accessory protein that is important in TLR3 and TLR4 signaling. In this study, we generated Tril(-/-) mice and examined TLR responses in vitro and in vivo. We found a role for TRIL in both TLR4 and TLR3 signaling in mixed glial cells, consistent with the high level of expression of TRIL in these cells. We also found that TRIL is a modulator of the innate immune response to LPS challenge and Escherichia coli infection in vivo. Tril(-/-) mice produce lower levels of multiple proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines specifically within the brain after E. coli and LPS challenge. Collectively, these data uncover TRIL as a mediator of innate immune responses within the brain, where it enhances neuronal cytokine responses to infection.
Retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) and melanoma differentiation-associated gene 5 (MDA5) are essential intracellular detectors of viral RNA. They contribute to the type I interferon (IFN) response that is crucial for host defense against viral infections. Given the potent antiviral and proinflammatory activities elicited by the type I IFNs, induction of the type I IFN response is tightly regulated. Members of the tripartite motif (TRIM) family of proteins have recently emerged as key regulators of antiviral immunity. We show that TRIM13, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, is expressed in immune cells and is upregulated in bone marrow-derived macrophages upon stimulation with inducers of type I IFN. TRIM13 interacts with MDA5 and negatively regulates MDA5-mediated type I IFN production in vitro, acting upstream of IFN regulatory factor 3. We generated Trim13(-/-) mice and show that upon lethal challenge with encephalomyocarditis virus (EMCV), which is sensed by MDA5, Trim13(-/-) mice produce increased amounts of type I IFNs and survive longer than wild-type mice. Trim13(-/-) murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) challenged with EMCV or poly(I · C) also show a significant increase in beta IFN (IFN-?) levels, but, in contrast, IFN-? responses to the RIG-I-detected Sendai virus were diminished, suggesting that TRIM13 may play a role in positively regulating RIG-I function. Together, these results demonstrate that TRIM13 regulates the type I IFN response through inhibition of MDA5 activity and that it functions nonredundantly to modulate MDA5 during EMCV infection.
The interferon ?-inducible protein 16 (IFI16) has recently been linked to the detection of nuclear and cytosolic DNA during infection with herpes simplex virus-1 and HIV. IFI16 binds dsDNA via HIN200 domains and activates stimulator of interferon genes (STING), leading to TANK (TRAF family member-associated NF-?B activator)-binding kinase-1 (TBK1)-dependent phosphorylation of interferon regulatory factor (IRF) 3 and transcription of type I interferons (IFNs) and related genes. To better understand the role of IFI16 in coordinating type I IFN gene regulation, we generated cell lines with stable knockdown of IFI16 and examined responses to DNA and RNA viruses as well as cyclic dinucleotides. As expected, stable knockdown of IFI16 led to a severely attenuated type I IFN response to DNA ligands and viruses. In contrast, expression of the NF-?B-regulated cytokines IL-6 and IL-1? was unaffected in IFI16 knockdown cells, suggesting that the role of IFI16 in sensing these triggers was unique to the type I IFN pathway. Surprisingly, we also found that knockdown of IFI16 led to a severe attenuation of IFN-? and the IFN-stimulated gene retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) in response to cyclic GMP-AMP, a second messenger produced by cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) as well as RNA ligands and viruses. Analysis of IFI16 knockdown cells revealed compromised occupancy of RNA polymerase II on the IFN-? promoter in these cells, suggesting that transcription of IFN-stimulated genes is dependent on IFI16. These results indicate a broader role for IFI16 in the regulation of the type I IFN response to RNA and DNA viruses in antiviral immunity.
All cells of the immune system rely on a highly integrated and dynamic gene expression program that is controlled by both transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms. Recently, non-coding RNAs, including long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), have emerged as important regulators of gene expression in diverse biological contexts. lncRNAs control gene expression in the nucleus by modulating transcription or via post-transcriptional mechanisms targeting the splicing, stability, or translation of mRNAs. Our knowledge of lncRNA biogenesis, their cell type-specific expression, and their versatile molecular functions is rapidly progressing in all areas of biology. We discuss here these exciting new regulators and highlight an emerging paradigm of lncRNA-mediated control of gene expression in the immune system.
Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF) is a progressive fibrosing disorder that may develop in patients with chronic kidney disease after administration of gadolinium (Gd)-based contrast agents (GBCAs). In the setting of impaired renal clearance of GBCAs, Gd deposits in various tissues and fibrosis subsequently develops. However, the precise mechanism by which fibrosis occurs in NSF is incompletely understood. Because other profibrotic agents, such as silica or asbestos, activate the nucleotide-binding oligomerisation domain (NOD)-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome and initiate interleukin (IL)-1? release with the subsequent development of fibrosis, we evaluated the effects of GBCAs on inflammasome activation.
Innate immune responses combat infectious microorganisms by inducing inflammatory responses, antimicrobial pathways and adaptive immunity. Multiple genes within each of these functional categories are coordinately and temporally regulated in response to distinct external stimuli. The substantial potential of these responses to drive pathological inflammation and tissue damage highlights the need for rigorous control of these responses. Although transcriptional control of inflammatory gene expression has been studied extensively, the importance of post-transcriptional regulation of these processes is less well defined. In this Review, we discuss the regulatory mechanisms that occur at the level of mRNA splicing, mRNA polyadenylation, mRNA stability and protein translation, and that have instrumental roles in controlling both the magnitude and duration of the inflammatory response.
Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) is an extracellular pathogen that causes hemorrhagic colitis and hemolytic uremic syndrome. The proinflammatory cytokine, interleukin-1?, has been linked to hemolytic uremic syndrome. Here we identify the nucleotide-binding domain and leucine rich repeat containing family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome as an essential mediator of EHEC-induced IL-1?. Whereas EHEC-specific virulence factors were dispensable for NLRP3 activation, bacterial nucleic acids such as RNA:DNA hybrids and RNA gained cytosolic access and mediated inflammasome-dependent responses. Consistent with a direct role for RNA:DNA hybrids in inflammasome activation, delivery of synthetic EHEC RNA:DNA hybrids into the cytosol triggered NLRP3-dependent responses, and introduction of RNase H, which degrades such hybrids, into infected cells specifically inhibited inflammasome activation. Notably, an E. coli rnhA mutant, which is incapable of producing RNase H and thus harbors increased levels of RNA:DNA hybrid, induced elevated levels of NLRP3-dependent caspase-1 activation and IL-1? maturation. Collectively, these findings identify RNA:DNA hybrids of bacterial origin as a unique microbial trigger of the NLRP3 inflammasome.
A number of pathogens cause host cell death upon infection, and Yersinia pestis, infamous for its role in large pandemics such as the "Black Death" in medieval Europe, induces considerable cytotoxicity. The rapid killing of macrophages induced by Y. pestis, dependent upon type III secretion system effector Yersinia outer protein J (YopJ), is minimally affected by the absence of caspase-1, caspase-11, Fas ligand, and TNF. Caspase-8 is known to mediate apoptotic death in response to infection with several viruses and to regulate programmed necrosis (necroptosis), but its role in bacterially induced cell death is poorly understood. Here we provide genetic evidence for a receptor-interacting protein (RIP) kinase-caspase-8-dependent macrophage apoptotic death pathway after infection with Y. pestis, influenced by Toll-like receptor 4-TIR-domain-containing adapter-inducing interferon-? (TLR4-TRIF). Interestingly, macrophages lacking either RIP1, or caspase-8 and RIP3, also had reduced infection-induced production of IL-1?, IL-18, TNF, and IL-6; impaired activation of the transcription factor NF-?B; and greatly compromised caspase-1 processing. Cleavage of the proform of caspase-1 is associated with triggering inflammasome activity, which leads to the maturation of IL-1? and IL-18, cytokines important to host responses against Y. pestis and many other infectious agents. Our results identify a RIP1-caspase-8/RIP3-dependent caspase-1 activation pathway after Y. pestis challenge. Mice defective in caspase-8 and RIP3 were also highly susceptible to infection and displayed reduced proinflammatory cytokines and myeloid cell death. We propose that caspase-8 and the RIP kinases are key regulators of macrophage cell death, NF-?B and inflammasome activation, and host resistance after Y. pestis infection.
Multiple clinical trials have shown that the 3-hydroxyl-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors known as statins have anti-inflammatory effects. However, the underlying molecular mechanism remains unclear. The proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1? (IL-1?) is synthesized as a non-active precursor. The 31-kDa pro-IL-1? is processed into the 17-kDa active form by caspase-1-activating inflammasomes. Here, we report a novel signaling pathway induced by statins, which leads to processing of pro-IL-1? into an intermediate 28-kDa form. This statin-induced IL-1? processing is independent of caspase-1- activating inflammasomes. The 28-kDa form of IL-1? cannot activate interleukin-1 receptor-1 (IL1R1) to signal inflammatory responses. Instead, it interferes with mature IL-1? signaling through IL-1R1 and therefore may dampen inflammatory responses initiated by mature IL-1?. These results may provide new clues to explain the anti-inflammatory effects of statins.
The four Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adaptor proteins MyD88, MAL, TRIF, and TRAM are well established as essential mediators of TLR signaling and gene induction following microbial detection. In contrast, the function of the fifth, most evolutionarily conserved Toll/IL-1R adaptor, sterile ? and HEAT/Armadillo motif-containing protein (SARM), has remained more elusive. Recent studies of Sarm(-/-) mice have highlighted a role for SARM in stress-induced neuronal cell death and immune responses in the CNS. However, whether SARM has a role in immune responses in peripheral myeloid immune cells is less clear. Thus, we characterized TLR-induced cytokine responses in SARM-deficient murine macrophages and discovered a requirement for SARM in CCL5 production, whereas gene induction of TNF, IL-1?, CCL2, and CXCL10 were SARM-independent. SARM was not required for TLR-induced activation of MAPKs or of transcription factors implicated in CCL5 induction, namely NF-?B and IFN regulatory factors, nor for Ccl5 mRNA stability or splicing. However, SARM was critical for the recruitment of transcription factors and of RNA polymerase II to the Ccl5 promoter. Strikingly, the requirement of SARM for CCL5 induction was not restricted to TLR pathways, as it was also apparent in cytosolic RNA and DNA responses. Thus, this study identifies a new role for SARM in CCL5 expression in macrophages.
The inflammatory cytokine IL-1? is critical for host responses against many human pathogens. Here, we define Group B Streptococcus (GBS)-mediated activation of the Nod-like receptor-P3 (NLRP3) inflammasome in macrophages. NLRP3 activation requires GBS expression of the cytolytic toxin, ?-hemolysin, lysosomal acidification, and leakage. These processes allow the interaction of GBS RNA with cytosolic NLRP3. The present study supports a model in which GBS RNA, along with lysosomal components including cathepsins, leaks out of lysosomes and interacts with NLRP3 to induce IL-1? production.
'Rounding' is reported to be an effective intervention to enhance patient-centred care; nurses make frequent calls on their patients to ensure their needs are met and reassure them they are the focus of their care. In our hospital, two clinical units implemented rounding as improvement projects and asked the research unit to evaluate the effectiveness of implementation. A qualitative descriptive study using focus groups and in-depth interviews revealed that although the idea of rounding was well intended, it was not as effectively implemented as it might have been. Consequently, lessons have been learnt about the difficulties of changing clinician behaviour and will inform a new attempt at implementation.
The differentiation and activation of both innate and adaptive immune cells is highly dependent on a coordinated set of transcriptional and post-transcriptional events. Chromatin-modifiers and transcription factors regulate the accessibility and transcription of immune genes, respectively. Immune cells also express miRNA and RNA-binding proteins that provide an additional layer of regulation at the mRNA level. However, long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), which have been primarily studied in the context of genomic imprinting, cancer, and cell differentiation, are now emerging as important regulators of immune cell differentiation and activation. In this review, we provide a brief overview of lncRNAs, their known functions in immunity, and discuss their potential to be more broadly involved in other aspects of the immune response.
The TLR4 ligand LPS causes mouse B cells to undergo IgE and IgG1 isotype switching in the presence of IL-4. TLR4 activates two signaling pathways mediated by the adaptor molecules MyD88 and Toll/IL-IR domain-containing adapter-inducing IFN-? (TRIF)-related adaptor molecule (TRAM), which recruits TRIF. Following stimulation with LPS plus IL-4, Tram(-/-) and Trif(-/-) B cells completely failed to express C? germline transcripts (GLT) and secrete IgE. In contrast, Myd88(-/-) B cells had normal expression of C? GLT but reduced IgE secretion in response to LPS plus IL-4. Following LPS plus IL-4 stimulation, C?1 GLT expression was modestly reduced in Tram(-/-) and Trif(-/-) B cells, whereas Aicda expression and IgG1 secretion were reduced in Tram(-/-), Trif(-/-), and Myd88(-/-) B cells. B cells from all strains secreted normal amounts of IgE and IgG1 in response to anti-CD40 plus IL-4. Following stimulation with LPS plus IL-4, Trif(-/-) B cells failed to sustain NF-?B p65 nuclear translocation beyond 3 h and had reduced binding of p65 to the I? promoter. Addition of the NF-?B inhibitor, JSH-23, to wild-type B cells 15 h after LPS plus IL-4 stimulation selectively blocked C? GLT expression and IgE secretion but had little effect on C?1 GLT expression and IgG secretion. These results indicate that sustained activation of NF-?B driven by TRIF is essential for LPS plus IL-4-driven activation of the C? locus and class switching to IgE.
Inflammasomes elicit host defense inside cells by activating caspase-1 for cytokine maturation and cell death. AIM2 and NLRP3 are representative sensor proteins in two major families of inflammasomes. The adaptor protein ASC bridges the sensor proteins and caspase-1 to form ternary inflammasome complexes, achieved through pyrin domain (PYD) interactions between sensors and ASC and through caspase activation and recruitment domain (CARD) interactions between ASC and caspase-1. We found that PYD and CARD both form filaments. Activated AIM2 and NLRP3 nucleate PYD filaments of ASC, which, in turn, cluster the CARD of ASC. ASC thus nucleates CARD filaments of caspase-1, leading to proximity-induced activation. Endogenous NLRP3 inflammasome is also filamentous. The cryoelectron microscopy structure of ASC(PYD) filament at near-atomic resolution provides a template for homo- and hetero-PYD/PYD associations, as confirmed by structure-guided mutagenesis. We propose that ASC-dependent inflammasomes in both families share a unified assembly mechanism that involves two successive steps of nucleation-induced polymerization. PAPERFLICK:
The transcriptional repressor B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1 (BLIMP1) is a master regulator of B and T cell differentiation. To examine the role of BLIMP1 in innate immunity, we used a conditional knockout (CKO) of Blimp1 in myeloid cells and found that Blimp1 CKO mice were protected from lethal infection induced by Listeria monocytogenes. Transcriptome analysis of Blimp1 CKO macrophages identified the murine chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 8, CCL8, as a direct target of Blimp1-mediated transcriptional repression in these cells. BLIMP1-deficient macrophages expressed elevated levels of Ccl8, and consequently Blimp1 CKO mice had higher levels of circulating CCL8, resulting in increased neutrophils in the peripheral blood, promoting a more aggressive antibacterial response. Mice lacking the Ccl8 gene were more susceptible to L. monocytogenes infection than were wild-type mice. Although CCL8 failed to recruit neutrophils directly, it was chemotactic for ?/? T cells, and CCL8-responsive ?/? T cells were enriched for IL-17F. Finally, CCL8-mediated enhanced clearance of L. monocytogenes was dependent on ?/? T cells. Collectively, these data reveal an important role for BLIMP1 in modulating host defenses by suppressing expression of the chemokine CCL8.
Inflammasome activation is gaining recognition as an important mechanism for protection during viral infection. Here, we investigate whether Rift Valley fever virus, a negative-strand RNA virus, can induce inflammasome responses and IL-1? processing in immune cells. We have determined that RVFV induces NLRP3 inflammasome activation in murine dendritic cells, and that this process is dependent upon ASC and caspase-1. Furthermore, absence of the cellular RNA helicase adaptor protein MAVS/IPS-1 significantly reduces extracellular IL-1? during infection. Finally, direct imaging using confocal microscopy shows that the MAVS protein co-localizes with NLRP3 in the cytoplasm of RVFV infected cells.
Stimulator of interferon genes (STING, also named MITA, MYPS, or ERIS) is an intracellular DNA sensor that induces type I interferon through its interaction with TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1). Here we found that the nucleotide-binding, leucine-rich-repeat-containing protein, NLRC3, reduced STING-dependent innate immune activation in response to cytosolic DNA, cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP), and DNA viruses. NLRC3 associated with both STING and TBK1 and impeded STING-TBK1 interaction and downstream type I interferon production. By using purified recombinant proteins, we found NLRC3 to interact directly with STING. Furthermore, NLRC3 prevented proper trafficking of STING to perinuclear and punctated region, known to be important for its activation. In animals, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1)-infected Nlrc3(-/-) mice exhibited enhanced innate immunity and reduced morbidity and viral load. This demonstrates the intersection of two key pathways of innate immune regulation, NLR and STING, to fine tune host response to intracellular DNA, DNA virus, and c-di-GMP.
Hemozoin (Hz) is the crystalline detoxification product of hemoglobin in Plasmodium-infected erythrocytes. We previously proposed that Hz can carry plasmodial DNA into a subcellular compartment that is accessible to Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), inducing an inflammatory signal. Hz also activates the NLRP3 inflammasome in primed cells. We found that Hz appears to colocalize with DNA in infected erythrocytes, even before RBC rupture or phagolysosomal digestion. Using synthetic Hz coated in vitro with plasmodial genomic DNA (gDNA) or CpG oligodeoxynucleotides, we observed that DNA-complexed Hz induced TLR9 translocation, providing a priming and an activation signal for inflammasomes. After phagocytosis, Hz and DNA dissociate. Hz subsequently induces phagolysosomal destabilization, allowing phagolysosomal contents access to the cytosol, where DNA receptors become activated. Similar observations were made with Plasmodium-infected RBCs. Finally, infected erythrocytes activated both the NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes. These observations suggest that Hz and DNA work together to induce systemic inflammation during malaria.
Cyclic paroxysm and high fever are hallmarks of malaria and are associated with high levels of pyrogenic cytokines, including IL-1?. In this report, we describe a signature for the expression of inflammasome-related genes and caspase-1 activation in malaria. Indeed, when we infected mice, Plasmodium infection was sufficient to promote MyD88-mediated caspase-1 activation, dependent on IFN-?-priming and the expression of inflammasome components ASC, P2X7R, NLRP3 and/or NLRP12. Pro-IL-1? expression required a second stimulation with LPS and was also dependent on IFN-?-priming and functional TNFR1. As a consequence of Plasmodium-induced caspase-1 activation, mice produced extremely high levels of IL-1? upon a second microbial stimulus, and became hypersensitive to septic shock. Therapeutic intervention with IL-1 receptor antagonist prevented bacterial-induced lethality in rodents. Similar to mice, we observed a significantly increased frequency of circulating CD14(+)CD16(-)Caspase-1(+) and CD14(dim)CD16(+)Caspase-1(+) monocytes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from febrile malaria patients. These cells readily produced large amounts of IL-1? after stimulation with LPS. Furthermore, we observed the presence of inflammasome complexes in monocytes from malaria patients containing either NLRP3 or NLRP12 pyroptosomes. We conclude that NLRP12/NLRP3-dependent activation of caspase-1 is likely to be a key event in mediating systemic production of IL-1? and hypersensitivity to secondary bacterial infection during malaria.
Most isolates of Toxoplasma from Europe and North America fall into one of three genetically distinct clonal lineages, the type I, II and III lineages. However, in South America these strains are rarely isolated and instead a great variety of other strains are found. T. gondii strains differ widely in a number of phenotypes in mice, such as virulence, persistence, oral infectivity, migratory capacity, induction of cytokine expression and modulation of host gene expression. The outcome of toxoplasmosis in patients is also variable and we hypothesize that, besides host and environmental factors, the genotype of the parasite strain plays a major role. The molecular basis for these differences in pathogenesis, especially in strains other than the clonal lineages, remains largely unexplored. Macrophages play an essential role in the early immune response against T. gondii and are also the cell type preferentially infected in vivo. To determine if non-canonical Toxoplasma strains have unique interactions with the host cell, we infected murine macrophages with 29 different Toxoplasma strains, representing global diversity, and used RNA-sequencing to determine host and parasite transcriptomes. We identified large differences between strains in the expression level of known parasite effectors and large chromosomal structural variation in some strains. We also identified novel strain-specifically regulated host pathways, including the regulation of the type I interferon response by some atypical strains. IFN? production by infected cells was associated with parasite killing, independent of interferon gamma activation, and dependent on endosomal Toll-like receptors in macrophages and the cytoplasmic receptor retinoic acid-inducible gene 1 (RIG-I) in fibroblasts.
Replication of lentiviruses generates different DNA forms, including RNA:DNA hybrids, ssDNA, and dsDNA. Nucleic acids stimulate innate immune responses, and pattern recognition receptors detecting dsDNA have been identified. However, sensors for ssDNA have not been reported, and the ability of RNA:DNA hybrids to stimulate innate immune responses is controversial. Using ssDNAs derived from HIV-1 proviral DNA, we report that this DNA form potently induces the expression of IFNs in primary human macrophages. This response was stimulated by stem regions in the DNA structure and was dependent on IFN-inducible protein 16 (IFI16), which bound immunostimulatory DNA directly and activated the stimulator of IFN genes -TANK-binding kinase 1 - IFN regulatory factors 3/7 (STING-TBK1-IRF3/7) pathway. Importantly, IFI16 colocalized and associated with lentiviral DNA in the cytoplasm in macrophages, and IFI16 knockdown in this cell type augmented lentiviral transduction and also HIV-1 replication. Thus, IFI16 is a sensor for DNA forms produced during the lentiviral replication cycle and regulates HIV-1 replication in macrophages.
Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptors (NLRs) detect pathogens and danger-associated signals within the cell. Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium, an intracellular pathogen, activates caspase-1 required for the processing of the proinflammatory cytokines, pro-IL-1? and pro-IL-18, and pyroptosis. In this study, we show that Salmonella infection induces the formation of an apoptosis-associated specklike protein containing a CARD (ASC)-Caspase-8-Caspase-1 inflammasome in macrophages. Caspase-8 and caspase-1 are recruited to the ASC focus independently of one other. Salmonella infection initiates caspase-8 proteolysis in a manner dependent on NLRC4 and ASC, but not NLRP3, caspase-1 or caspase-11. Caspase-8 primarily mediates the synthesis of pro-IL-1?, but is dispensable for Salmonella-induced cell death. Overall, our findings highlight that the ASC inflammasome can recruit different members of the caspase family to induce distinct effector functions in response to Salmonella infection.
Before they infect red blood cells and cause malaria, Plasmodium parasites undergo an obligate and clinically silent expansion phase in the liver that is supposedly undetected by the host. Here, we demonstrate the engagement of a type I interferon (IFN) response during Plasmodium replication in the liver. We identified Plasmodium RNA as a previously unrecognized pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) capable of activating a type I IFN response via the cytosolic pattern recognition receptor Mda5. This response, initiated by liver-resident cells through the adaptor molecule for cytosolic RNA sensors, Mavs, and the transcription factors Irf3 and Irf7, is propagated by hepatocytes in an interferon-?/? receptor-dependent manner. This signaling pathway is critical for immune cell-mediated host resistance to liver-stage Plasmodium infection, which we find can be primed with other PAMPs, including hepatitis C virus RNA. Together, our results show that the liver has sensor mechanisms for Plasmodium that mediate a functional antiparasite response driven by type I IFN.
Emerging evidence suggests that innate immunity drives alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and that the interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3),a transcription factor regulating innate immune responses, is indispensable for the development of ALD. Here we report that IRF3 mediates ALD via linking endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress with apoptotic signaling in hepatocytes. We found that ethanol induced ER stress and triggered the association of IRF3 with the ER adaptor, stimulator of interferon genes (STING), as well as subsequent phosphorylation of IRF3. Activated IRF3 associated with the proapoptotic molecule Bax [B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl2)-associated X protein] and contributed to hepatocyte apoptosis. Deficiency of STING prevented IRF3 phosphorylation by ethanol or ER stress, and absence of IRF3 prevented hepatocyte apoptosis. The pathogenic role of IRF3 in ALD was independent of inflammation or Type-I interferons. Thus, STING and IRF3 are key determinants of ALD, linking ER stress signaling with the mitochondrial pathway of hepatocyte apoptosis.
Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by diverse stimuli requires a priming signal from TLRs and an activation signal from purinergic receptors or pore-forming toxins. In this study, we demonstrate, through detailed analysis of NLRP3 activation in macrophages deficient in key downstream TLR signaling molecules, that MyD88 is required for an immediate early phase, whereas Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adapter inducing IFN-? is required for a subsequent intermediate phase of posttranslational NLRP3 activation. Both IL-1R-associated kinase (IRAK) 1 and IRAK4 are critical for rapid activation of NLRP3 through the MyD88 pathway, but only IRAK1 is partially required in the Toll/IL-1R domain-containing adapter inducing IFN-? pathway. IRAK1 and IRAK4 are also required for rapid activation of NLRP3 by Listeria monocytogenes, as deletion of IRAK1 or IRAK4 led to defective inflammasome activation. These findings define the pathways that lead to rapid NLRP3 activation and identify IRAK1 as a critical mediator of a transcription-independent,inflammasome-dependent early warning response to pathogenic infection.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis extracellular DNA gains access to the host cell cytosol via the ESX-1 secretion system. It is puzzling that this extracellular DNA of M. tuberculosis does not induce activation of the AIM2 inflammasome because AIM2 recognizes cytosolic DNA. In this study, we show that nonvirulent mycobacteria such as Mycobacterium smegmatis induce AIM2 inflammasome activation, which is dependent on their strong induction of IFN-? production. In contrast, M. tuberculosis, but not an ESX-1-deficient mutant, inhibits the AIM2 inflammasome activation induced by either M. smegmatis or transfected dsDNA. The inhibition does not involve changes in host cell AIM2 mRNA or protein levels but led to decreased activation of caspase-1. We furthermore demonstrate that M. tuberculosis inhibits IFN-? production and signaling, which was partially responsible for the inhibition of AIM2 activation. In conclusion, we report a novel immune evasion mechanism of M. tuberculosis that involves the ESX-1-dependent, direct or indirect, suppression of the host cell AIM2 inflammasome activation during infection.
Synthetic oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) comprised of the immunosuppressive motif TTAGGG block TLR9 signaling, prevent STAT1 and STAT4 phosphorylation and attenuate a variety of inflammatory responses in vivo. In this study, we demonstrate that such suppressive ODN abrogate activation of cytosolic nucleic acid-sensing pathways. Pretreatment of dendritic cells and macrophages with the suppressive ODN-A151 abrogated type I IFN, TNF-?, and ISG induction in response to cytosolic dsDNA. In addition, A151 abrogated caspase-1-dependent IL-1? and IL-18 maturation in dendritic cells stimulated with dsDNA and murine CMV. Inhibition was dependent on A151s phosphorothioate backbone, whereas substitution of the guanosine residues for adenosine negatively affected potency. A151 mediates these effects by binding to AIM2 in a manner that is competitive with immune-stimulatory DNA and as a consequence prevents AIM2 inflammasome complex formation. Collectively, these findings reveal a new route by which suppressive ODNs modulate the immune system and unveil novel applications for suppressive ODNs in the treatment of infectious and autoimmune diseases.
Obesity is associated with the development of asthma, which is often difficult to control. To understand the immunological pathways that lead to obesity-associated asthma, we fed mice a high-fat diet for 12 weeks, which resulted in obesity and the development of airway hyperreactivity (AHR), a cardinal feature of asthma. This AHR was independent of adaptive immunity, as it occurred in obese Rag1(-/-) mice, which lack B and T cells, and was dependent on interleukin-17A (IL-17A) and the NLRP3 inflammasome, as it did not develop in obese Il17a(-/-) or Nlrp3(-/-) mice. AHR was also associated with the expansion of CCR6(+) type 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) producing IL-17A (ILC3 cells) in the lung, which could by themselves mediate AHR when adoptively transferred into Rag2(-/-); Il2rg(-/-) mice treated with recombinant IL-1?. Macrophage-derived IL-1? production was induced by HFD and expanded the number of lung ILC3 cells. Blockade of IL-1? with an IL-1 receptor antagonist abolished obesity-induced AHR and reduced the number of ILC3 cells. As we found ILC3-like cells in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of individuals with asthma, we suggest that obesity-associated asthma is facilitated by inflammation mediated by NLRP3, IL-1? and ILC3 cells.
The cyclic dinucleotides 3-5diadenylate (c-diAMP) and 3-5 diguanylate (c-diGMP) are important bacterial second messengers that have recently been shown to stimulate the secretion of type I Interferons (IFN-Is) through the c-diGMP-binding protein MPYS/STING. Here, we show that physiologically relevant levels of cyclic dinucleotides also stimulate a robust secretion of IL-1? through the NLRP3 inflammasome. Intriguingly, this response is independent of MPYS/STING. Consistent with most NLRP3 inflammasome activators, the response to c-diGMP is dependent on the mobilization of potassium and calcium ions. However, in contrast to other NLRP3 inflammasome activators, this response is not associated with significant changes in mitochondrial potential or the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species. Thus, cyclic dinucleotides activate the NLRP3 inflammasome through a unique pathway that could have evolved to detect pervasive bacterial pathogen-associated molecular patterns associated with intracellular infections.
Loss-of-function mutations in the Fas death receptor or its ligand result in a lymphoproliferative syndrome and exacerbate clinical disease in most lupus-prone strains of mice. One exception is mice injected with 2,6,10,14-tetramethylpentadecane (TMPD), a hydrocarbon oil commonly known as pristane, which induces systemic lupus erythematosus-like disease. Although Fas/Fas ligand (FasL) interactions have been strongly implicated in the activation-induced cell death of both lymphocytes and other APCs, FasL can also trigger the production of proinflammatory cytokines. FasL is a transmembrane protein with a matrix metalloproteinase cleavage site in the ectodomain. Matrix metalloproteinase cleavage inactivates membrane-bound FasL and releases a soluble form reported to have both antagonist and agonist activity. To better understand the impact of FasL cleavage on both the proapoptotic and proinflammatory activity of FasL, its cleavage site was deleted through targeted mutation to produce the deleted cleavage site (?CS) mouse line. ?CS mice express higher levels of membrane-bound FasL than do wild-type mice and fail to release soluble FasL. To determine to what extent FasL promotes inflammation in lupus mice, TMPD-injected FasL-deficient and ?CS BALB/c mice were compared with control TMPD-injected BALB/c mice. We found that FasL deficiency significantly reduced the early inflammatory exudate induced by TMPD injection. In contrast, ?CS mice developed a markedly exacerbated disease profile associated with a higher frequency of splenic neutrophils and macrophages, a profound change in anti-nuclear Ab specificity, and markedly increased proteinuria and kidney pathology compared with controls. These results demonstrate that FasL promotes inflammation in TMPD-induced autoimmunity, and its cleavage limits FasL proinflammatory activity.
An inducible program of inflammatory gene expression is central to antimicrobial defenses. This response is controlled by a collaboration involving signal-dependent activation of transcription factors, transcriptional co-regulators, and chromatin-modifying factors. We have identified a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that acts as a key regulator of this inflammatory response. Pattern recognition receptors such as the Toll-like receptors induce the expression of numerous lncRNAs. One of these, lincRNA-Cox2, mediates both the activation and repression of distinct classes of immune genes. Transcriptional repression of target genes is dependent on interactions of lincRNA-Cox2 with heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A/B and A2/B1. Collectively, these studies unveil a central role of lincRNA-Cox2 as a broad-acting regulatory component of the circuit that controls the inflammatory response.
The nucleotidyl transferase cGAS, its second-messenger product cGAMP, and the cGAMP sensor STING form the basic mechanism of DNA sensing in the cytoplasm of mammalian cells. Several new reports now uncover key structural features associated with DNA recognition by cGAS and the catalytic mechanisms of cGAMP generation. Concurrent studies also reveal unique phosphodiester linkages in endogenous cGAMP that distinguish it from microbial cGAMP and other cyclic dinucleotides. Together, these studies provide a new perspective on DNA recognition in the innate immune system.
Vascular disrupting agents such as 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA) represent a novel approach for cancer treatment. DMXAA has potent antitumor activity in mice and, despite significant preclinical promise, failed human clinical trials. The antitumor activity of DMXAA has been linked to its ability to induce type I IFNs in macrophages, although the molecular mechanisms involved are poorly understood. In this study, we identify stimulator of IFN gene (STING) as a direct receptor for DMXAA leading to TANK-binding kinase 1 and IFN regulatory factor 3 signaling. Remarkably, the ability to sense DMXAA was restricted to murine STING. Human STING failed to bind to or signal in response to DMXAA. Human STING also failed to signal in response to cyclic dinucleotides, conserved bacterial second messengers known to bind and activate murine STING signaling. Collectively, these findings detail an unexpected species-specific role for STING as a receptor for an anticancer drug and uncover important insights that may explain the failure of DMXAA in clinical trials for human cancer.
Nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-Like Receptor with a Pyrin domain 3 (NLRP3) is considered necessary for initiating a profound sterile inflammatory response. NLRP3 forms multi-protein complexes with Apoptosis-associated Speck-like protein containing a Caspase recruitment domain (ASC) and Caspase-1, which activate pro-interleukin-1? (IL-1?) and pro-IL-18. The role of NLRP3 in cardiac cells is not known. Thus, we investigated the expression and function of NLRP3 during myocardial ischaemia.
Autophagy has been implicated as a component of host defense, but the significance of antimicrobial autophagy in vivo and the mechanism by which it is regulated during infection are poorly defined. Here we found that antiviral autophagy was conserved in flies and mammals during infection with Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), a mosquito-borne virus that causes disease in humans and livestock. In Drosophila, Toll-7 limited RVFV replication and mortality through activation of autophagy. RVFV infection also elicited autophagy in mouse and human cells, and viral replication was increased in the absence of autophagy genes. The mammalian Toll-like receptor adaptor, MyD88, was required for anti-RVFV autophagy, revealing an evolutionarily conserved requirement for pattern-recognition receptors in antiviral autophagy. Pharmacologic activation of autophagy inhibited RVFV infection in mammalian cells, including primary hepatocytes and neurons. Thus, autophagy modulation might be an effective strategy for treating RVFV infection, which lacks approved vaccines and therapeutics.
Particulate ligands, including cholesterol crystals and amyloid fibrils, induce production of interleukin 1? (IL-1?) dependent on the cytoplasmic sensor NLRP3 in atherosclerosis, Alzheimers disease and diabetes. Soluble endogenous ligands, including oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL), amyloid-? and amylin peptides, accumulate in such diseases. Here we identify an endocytic pathway mediated by the pattern-recognition receptor CD36 that coordinated the intracellular conversion of those soluble ligands into crystals or fibrils, which resulted in lysosomal disruption and activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Consequently, macrophages that lacked CD36 failed to elicit IL-1? production in response to those ligands, and targeting CD36 in atherosclerotic mice resulted in lower serum concentrations of IL-1? and accumulation of cholesterol crystals in plaques. Collectively, our findings highlight the importance of CD36 in the accrual and nucleation of NLRP3 ligands from within the macrophage and position CD36 as a central regulator of inflammasome activation in sterile inflammation.
Natural killer (NK) cells are important for innate immunity in particular through the production of IFN-? and GM-CSF. Both cytokines are important in restoration of immune function of tolerized leukocytes under inflammatory events. The expression of TLRs in NK cells has been widely studied by analyzing the mRNA of these receptors, rarely seeking their protein expression. We previously showed that murine spleen NK cells express TLR9 intracellularly and respond to CpG oligodeoxynucleotide (CpG-ODN) by producing IFN-? and GM-CSF. However, to get such production the presence of accessory cytokines (such as IL-15 and IL-18) was required, whereas CpG-ODN or accessory cytokines alone did not induce IFN-? or GM-CSF. We show here that TLR9 overlaps with the Golgi apparatus in NK cells. Furthermore, CpG-ODN stimulation in the presence of accessory cytokines induces the phosphorylation of c-Jun, STAT3, and I?B?. IFN-? and GM-CSF production requires NF-?B and STAT3 activation as well as Erk-dependent mechanisms for IFN-? and p38 signaling for GM-CSF. Using knock-out-mice, we show that UNC93b1 and IL-12 (produced by NK cells themselves) are also necessary for IFN-? and GM-CSF production. IFN-? production was found to be MyD88- and TLR9-dependent, whereas GM-CSF was TLR9-independent but dependent on STING (stimulator of interferon genes), a cytosolic adaptor recently described for DNA sensing. Our study thereby allows us to gain insight into the mechanisms of synergy between accessory cytokines and CpG-ODN in NK cells. It also identifies a new and alternative signaling pathway for CpG-ODN in murine NK cells.
Recognition of microbial nucleic acids is one strategy by which mammalian hosts respond to infectious agents. Intracellular DNA that is introduced into cells during infection elicits potent inflammatory responses by triggering the induction of antiviral type I IFNs and the maturation and secretion of inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-?, IL-1?, and IL-18. In addition, if nucleases, such as DNase II or DNase III (Trex1), fail to clear self-DNA, accumulated DNA gains access to intracellular compartments where it drives inflammatory responses leading to autoimmune disease. In this review, we discuss a rapidly evolving view of how cytosolic DNA-sensing machineries coordinate antimicrobial immunity and, if unchecked, lead to autoimmune disease.
Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an emerging RNA virus with devastating economic and social consequences. Clinically, RVFV induces a gamut of symptoms ranging from febrile illness to retinitis, hepatic necrosis, hemorrhagic fever, and death. It is known that type I interferon (IFN) responses can be protective against severe pathology; however, it is unknown which innate immune receptor pathways are crucial for mounting this response. Using both in vitro assays and in vivo mucosal mouse challenge, we demonstrate here that RNA helicases are critical for IFN production by immune cells and that signaling through the helicase adaptor molecule MAVS (mitochondrial antiviral signaling) is protective against mortality and more subtle pathology during RVFV infection. In addition, we demonstrate that Toll-like-receptor-mediated signaling is not involved in IFN production, further emphasizing the importance of the RNA cellular helicases in type I IFN responses to RVFV.
Phagocytosis is a fundamental cellular process that is pivotal for immunity as it coordinates microbial killing, innate immune activation and antigen presentation. An essential step in this process is phagosome acidification, which regulates many functions of these organelles that allow phagosomes to participate in processes that are essential to both innate and adaptive immunity. Here we report that acidification of phagosomes containing Gram-positive bacteria is regulated by the NLRP3 inflammasome and caspase-1. Active caspase-1 accumulates on phagosomes and acts locally to control the pH by modulating buffering by the NADPH oxidase NOX2. These data provide insight into a mechanism by which innate immune signals can modify cellular defenses and establish a new function for the NLRP3 inflammasome and caspase-1 in host defense.
The innate immune system is important for control of infections, including herpesvirus infections. Intracellular DNA potently stimulates antiviral IFN responses. It is known that plasmacytoid dendritic cells sense herpesvirus DNA in endosomes via TLR9 and that nonimmune tissue cells can sense herpesvirus DNA in the nucleus. However, it remains unknown how and where myeloid cells, such as macrophages and conventional dendritic cells, detect infections with herpesviruses. In this study, we demonstrate that the HSV-1 capsid was ubiquitinated in the cytosol and degraded by the proteasome, hence releasing genomic DNA into the cytoplasm for detection by DNA sensors. In this context, the DNA sensor IFN-?-inducible 16 is important for induction of IFN-? in human macrophages postinfection with HSV-1 and CMV. Viral DNA localized to the same cytoplasmic regions as did IFN-?-inducible 16, with DNA sensing being independent of viral nuclear entry. Thus, proteasomal degradation of herpesvirus capsids releases DNA to the cytoplasm for recognition by DNA sensors.
Great progress has been made in understanding how immune cells detect microbial pathogens. An area that has received particular attention is nucleic acid sensing where RNA and DNA sensing machineries have been uncovered. For DNA, TLR9 in endosomes and numerous cytoplasmic DNA binding proteins have been identified. Several of these have been proposed to couple DNA recognition to induction of type I IFNs, pro-inflammatory cytokines and/or caspase-1 activation. Given the ubiquitous expression of many of these DNA binding proteins and the significant potential for endogenous DNA to engage these molecules, it is important that DNA recognition is tightly regulated. A better understanding of DNA recognition pathways can provide new insights into infectious, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
Measurement of protease activity in living cells or organisms remains a challenging task. We here present a transgene-encoded biosensor that reports the proteolytic activity of caspase-1 in the course of inflammasome activation and that of other proteases in a highly sensitive and specific manner. This protease reporter is based on the biological activity of a pro-interleukin (IL)-1?-Gaussia luciferase (iGLuc) fusion construct, in which pro-IL-1?-dependent formation of protein aggregates renders GLuc enzyme inactive. Cleavage leads to monomerization of this biosensor protein, resulting in a strong gain in luciferase activity. Exchange of the canonical caspase-1 cleavage site in this reporter construct allows the generation of protease biosensors with additional specificities. The high sensitivity, signal-to-background ratio and specificity of the iGLuc system renders it a useful tool to study proteolytic events in mouse and human cells at high throughput and to monitor protease activity in mice in vivo.
Pyogenic Arthritis, Pyoderma Gangrenosum, and Acne Syndrome (PAPA syndrome) is an autoinflammatory disease caused by aberrant production of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1. Mutations in the gene encoding proline serine threonine phosphatase-interacting protein-1 (PSTPIP1) have been linked to PAPA syndrome. PSTPIP1 is an adaptor protein that interacts with PYRIN, the protein encoded by the Mediterranean Fever (MEFV) gene whose mutations cause Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF). However, the pathophysiological function of PSTPIP1 remains to be elucidated. We have generated mouse strains that either are PSTPIP1 deficient or ectopically express mutant PSTPIP1. Results from analyzing these mice suggested that PSTPIP1 is not an essential regulator of the Nlrp3, Aim2, or Nlrc4 inflammasomes. Although common features of human PAPA syndrome such as pyogenic arthritis and skin inflammation were not recapitulated in the mouse model, ectopic expression of the mutant but not the wild type PSTPIP1 in mice lead to partial embryonic lethality, growth retardation, and elevated level of circulating proinflammatory cytokines.
Innate immune surveillance mechanisms lie at the heart of the antiviral response. A growing number of germ-line encoded pattern recognition receptors have been identified which protect the host from infection by sensing the presence of viral molecules and inducing antiviral defenses. Most compartments that viruses gain access to are under active surveillance by one or more pattern recognition receptors. Members of the Toll-like receptor family guard the extracellular milieu and endosomal compartment where they are activated by viral glycoproteins or nucleic acids, respectively. More recently, the cytosolic compartment has emerged as the frontline in the arsenal of the hosts antiviral defenses. Families of receptors in the cytosol recognize viral RNA or DNA or perturbations of cellular homeostasis and orchestrate effector responses to eliminate the invader. Here, we review this expanding area of innate immunity by focusing on the molecular mechanisms of cytosolic host-defenses.
The innate immune response is the first line of defense against infection and relies on the ability of immune cells to detect the presence of infection through germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors. These include the Toll-like receptors, the retinoic acid inducible gene-like receptors, the nucleotide oligomerization domain-like receptors, and a number of DNA-sensing molecules. Members of the PYHIN protein family have recently emerged as sensors of microbial DNA. PYHIN proteins bind microbial DNA and form caspase-1-activating inflammasomes (AIM2) or drive type I IFN gene transcription (IFI16). Here, we review these discoveries and highlight the emerging role of the PYHIN protein family in mammalian host defenses.
Poxviruses are large DNA viruses that replicate in the cytoplasm of infected cells. Myxoma virus is a rabbit poxvirus that belongs to the Leporipoxvirus genus. It causes a lethal disease called myxomatosis in European rabbits but cannot sustain any detectable infection in nonlagomorphs. Vaccinia virus is a prototypal orthopoxvirus that was used as a vaccine to eradicate smallpox. Myxoma virus is nonpathogenic in mice, whereas systemic infection with vaccinia virus can be lethal even in immunocompetent mice. Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are potent type I interferon (IFN)-producing cells that play important roles in antiviral innate immunity. How poxviruses are sensed by pDCs to induce type I IFN production is not well understood. Here we report that infection of primary murine pDCs with myxoma virus, but not with vaccinia virus, induces IFN-?, IFN-?, tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and interleukin-12p70 (IL-12p70) production. Using pDCs derived from genetic knockout mice, we show that the myxoma virus-induced innate immune response requires the endosomal DNA sensor TLR9 and its adaptor MyD88, transcription factors IRF5 and IRF7, and the type I IFN positive-feedback loop mediated by IFNAR1. It is independent of the cytoplasmic RNA sensing pathway mediated by the mitochondrial adaptor molecule MAVS, the TLR3 adaptor TRIF, or the transcription factor IRF3. Using pharmacological inhibitors, we demonstrate that myxoma virus-induced type I IFN and IL-12p70 production in murine pDCs is also dependent on phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) and Akt. Furthermore, our results reveal that the N-terminal Z-DNA/RNA binding domain of vaccinia virulence factor E3, which is missing in the orthologous M029 protein expressed by myxoma virus, plays an inhibitory role in poxvirus sensing and innate cytokine production by murine pDCs.
IL-1? is a cytokine critical to several inflammatory diseases in which pathogenic Th17 responses are implicated. Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by microbial and environmental stimuli can enable the caspase-1-dependent processing and secretion of IL-1?. The acute-phase protein serum amyloid A (SAA) is highly induced during inflammatory responses, wherein it participates in systemic modulation of innate and adaptive immune responses. Elevated levels of IL-1?, SAA, and IL-17 are present in subjects with severe allergic asthma, yet the mechanistic relationship among these mediators has yet to be identified. In this study, we demonstrate that Saa3 is expressed in the lungs of mice exposed to several mixed Th2/Th17-polarizing allergic sensitization regimens. SAA instillation into the lungs elicits robust TLR2-, MyD88-, and IL-1-dependent pulmonary neutrophilic inflammation. Furthermore, SAA drives production of IL-1?, IL-1?, IL-6, IL-23, and PGE(2), causes dendritic cell (DC) maturation, and requires TLR2, MyD88, and the NLRP3 inflammasome for secretion of IL-1? by DCs and macrophages. CD4(+) T cells polyclonally stimulated in the presence of conditioned media from SAA-exposed DCs produced IL-17, and the capacity of polyclonally stimulated splenocytes to secrete IL-17 is dependent upon IL-1, TLR2, and the NLRP3 inflammasome. Additionally, in a model of allergic airway inflammation, administration of SAA to the lungs functions as an adjuvant to sensitize mice to inhaled OVA, resulting in leukocyte influx after Ag challenge and a predominance of IL-17 production from restimulated splenocytes that is dependent upon IL-1R signaling.
Candida sp. are opportunistic fungal pathogens that colonize the skin and oral cavity and, when overgrown under permissive conditions, cause inflammation and disease. Previously, we identified a central role for the NLRP3 inflammasome in regulating IL-1? production and resistance to dissemination from oral infection with Candida albicans. Here we show that mucosal expression of NLRP3 and NLRC4 is induced by Candida infection, and up-regulation of these molecules is impaired in NLRP3 and NLRC4 deficient mice. Additionally, we reveal a role for the NLRC4 inflammasome in anti-fungal defenses. NLRC4 is important for control of mucosal Candida infection and impacts inflammatory cell recruitment to infected tissues, as well as protects against systemic dissemination of infection. Deficiency in either NLRC4 or NLRP3 results in severely attenuated pro-inflammatory and antimicrobial peptide responses in the oral cavity. Using bone marrow chimeric mouse models, we show that, in contrast to NLRP3 which limits the severity of infection when present in either the hematopoietic or stromal compartments, NLRC4 plays an important role in limiting mucosal candidiasis when functioning at the level of the mucosal stroma. Collectively, these studies reveal the tissue specific roles of the NLRP3 and NLRC4 inflammasome in innate immune responses against mucosal Candida infection.
Murine Aim2 and Ifi202 genes (encoding for the Aim2 and p202 proteins) are members of the IFN-inducible Ifi200 gene family. The Aim2 deficiency in mice activates IFN signaling and stimulates the expression of the lupus susceptibility gene, the Ifi202, located within the NZB autoimmunity 2 (Nba2) interval. Given that the deficiency in the expression of the Fcgr2b gene (encoding for the inhibitory Fc?RIIB receptor) is associated with increased lupus susceptibility in mice, we investigated whether the Aim2 protein could regulate the expression of Fcgr2b gene. In this article, we report that Aim2 deficiency in mice suppresses the expression of the Fc?RIIB receptor. Interestingly, the Fcgr2b-deficient cells expressed increased levels of the IFN-?, activated IFN signaling, and expressed reduced levels of the Aim2 protein. Treatment of splenic cells with IFN-? or -? reduced levels of the Fc?RIIB mRNA and protein and also decreased the activity of the Fc?RIIB p(-729/+585) Luc reporter. Moreover, levels of the Fc?RIIB receptor were significantly higher in the Stat1-deficient splenic cells than in the wild-type cells. Accordingly, increased expression of IFN-? in lupus-prone B6.Nba2-ABC mice, as compared with non-lupus-prone C57BL/6 (B6) or B6.Nba2-C mice, was associated with reduced expression of the Fc?RIIB receptor. Notably, overexpression of the p202 protein in cells decreased the expression of the Aim2 gene, activated the IFN response, and suppressed the expression of the Fcgr2b gene. These observations demonstrate that the expression of Aim2 protein is required to maintain the expression of the Fcgr2b gene and also predict epistatic interactions between the Ifi200 genes and the Fcgr2b gene within the Nba2 interval.
Although Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9) has been implicated in cytokine and type I interferon (IFN) production during malaria in humans and mice, the high AT content of the Plasmodium falciparum genome prompted us to examine the possibility that malarial DNA triggered TLR9-independent pathways. Over 6000 ATTTTTAC ("AT-rich") motifs are present in the genome of P. falciparum, which we show here potently induce type I IFNs. Parasite DNA, parasitized erythrocytes and oligonucleotides containing the AT-rich motif induce type I IFNs via a pathway that did not involve the previously described sensors TLR9, DAI, RNA polymerase-III or IFI16/p204. Rather, AT-rich DNA sensing involved an unknown receptor that coupled to the STING, TBK1 and IRF3-IRF7 signaling pathway. Mice lacking IRF3, IRF7, the kinase TBK1 or the type I IFN receptor were resistant to otherwise lethal cerebral malaria. Collectively, these observations implicate AT-rich DNA sensing via STING, TBK1 and IRF3-IRF7 in P. falciparum malaria.
The innate immune response to viral pathogens is critical in order to mobilize protective immunity. Cells of the innate immune system detect viral infection largely through germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) present either on the cell surface or within distinct intracellular compartments. These include the Toll-like receptors (TLRs), the retinoic acid-inducble gene I-like receptors (RLRs), the nucleotide oligomerization domain-like receptors (NLRs, also called NACHT, LRR and PYD domain proteins) and cytosolic DNA sensors. While in certain cases viral proteins are the trigger of these receptors, the predominant viral activators are nucleic acids. The presence of viral sensing PRRs in multiple cellular compartments allows innate cells to recognize and quickly respond to a broad range of viruses, which replicate in different cellular compartments. Here, we review the role of PRRs and associated signaling pathways in detecting viral pathogens in order to evoke production of interferons and cytokines. By highlighting recent progress in these areas, we hope to convey a greater understanding of how viruses activate PRR signaling and how this interaction shapes the anti-viral immune response.
The invasive Argentine ant (Linepithema humile) is established worldwide and displaces native ant species. In northern California, however, the native winter ant (Prenolepis imparis) persists in invaded areas. We found that in aggressive interactions between the two species, P. imparis employs a potent defensive secretion. Field observations were conducted at P. imparis nest sites both in the presence and absence of L. humile. These observations suggested and laboratory assays confirmed that P. imparis workers are more likely to secrete when outnumbered by L. humile. Workers of P. imparis were also more likely to secrete near their nest entrances than when foraging on trees. One-on-one laboratory trials showed that the P. imparis secretion is highly lethal to L. humile, causing 79% mortality. The nonpolar fraction of the secretion was chemically analyzed with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, and found to be composed of long-chain and cyclic hydrocarbons. Chemical analysis of dissected P. imparis workers showed that the nonpolar fraction is derived from the Dufours gland. Based on these conclusions, we hypothesize that this chemical defense may help P. imparis to resist displacement by L. humile.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced production of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-? requires the recruitment of two pairs of adaptors to the Toll-like receptor 4 cytoplasmic domain. The contribution of one pair - Toll-interleukin-1 receptor domain-containing adaptor inducing interferon-? (TRIF) and TRIF-related adaptor molecule (TRAM) - to TNF-? expression is not well understood. To clarify this issue, we studied TRAM knockout bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM). LPS-stimulated TRAM-deficient BMDM had decreased TNF-? protein expression even at times when TNF-? mRNA levels were normal, suggesting impaired translation. Consistent with this idea, knockdown of TRAM in RAW264.7 macrophages decreased translation of a reporter controlled by the TNF-? 3 untranslated region, while transfection of TRAM in HEK293T cells increased translation of this reporter. Also consistent with a role for TRAM in TNF-? translation, LPS-induced activation of MK2, a kinase involved in this process, was impaired in TRAM-deficient BMDM. TRIF did not increase translation of the TNF-? 3 untranslated region reporter when expressed in HEK293T cells. However, BMDM that lacked functional TRIF produced reduced levels of TNF-? protein in response to LPS despite normal amounts of the mRNA. Unlike BMDM, LPS-stimulated TRAM-deficient peritoneal macrophages displayed equivalent reductions in TNF-? protein and mRNA. Our results indicate that TRAM- and TRIF-dependent signals have a previously unappreciated, cell type-specific role in regulating TNF-? translation.
DNA viruses are a significant contributor to human morbidity and mortality. The immune system protects against viral infections through coordinated innate and adaptive immune responses. While the antigen-specific adaptive mechanisms have been extensively studied, the critical contributions of innate immunity to anti-viral defenses have only been revealed in the very recent past. Central to these anti-viral defenses is the recognition of viral pathogens by a diverse set of germ-line encoded receptors that survey nearly all cellular compartments for the presence of pathogens. In this review, we discuss the recent advances in the innate immune sensing of DNA viruses and focus on the recognition mechanisms involved.
Advances in innate immunity over the past decade have revealed distinct classes of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) that detect pathogens at the cell surface and in intracellular compartments. This has shed light on how herpesviruses, which are large disease-causing DNA viruses that replicate in the nucleus, are initially recognized during cellular infection. Surprisingly, this involves multiple PRRs both on the cell surface and within endosomes and the cytosol. In this article we describe recent advances in our understanding of innate detection of herpesviruses, how this innate detection translates into anti-herpesvirus host defence, and how the viruses seek to evade this innate detection to establish persistent infections.
Toll-like receptors are a group of pattern-recognition receptors that play a crucial role in "danger" recognition and induction of the innate immune response against bacterial and viral infections. TLR3 has emerged as a key sensor of viral dsRNA, resulting in the induction of the anti-viral molecule, IFN-?. Thus, a clearer understanding of the biological processes that modulate TLR3 signaling is essential. Previous studies have shown that the TLR adaptor, Mal/TIRAP, an activator of TLR4, inhibits TLR3-mediated IFN-? induction through a mechanism involving IRF7. In this study, we sought to investigate whether the TLR adaptor, MyD88, an activator of all TLRs except TLR3, has the ability to modulate TLR3 signaling. Although MyD88 does not significantly affect TLR3 ligand-induced TNF-? induction, MyD88 negatively regulates TLR3-, but not TLR4-, mediated IFN-? and RANTES production; this process is mechanistically distinct from that employed by Mal/TIRAP. We show that MyD88 inhibits IKK?-, but not TBK1-, induced activation of IRF3. In doing so, MyD88 curtails TLR3 ligand-induced IFN-? induction. The present study shows that while MyD88 activates all TLRs except TLR3, MyD88 also functions as a negative regulator of TLR3. Thus, MyD88 is essential in restricting TLR3 signaling, thereby protecting the host from unwanted immunopathologies associated with the excessive production of IFN-?. Our study offers a new role for MyD88 in restricting TLR3 signaling through a hitherto unknown mechanism whereby MyD88 specifically impairs IKK?-mediated induction of IRF3 and concomitant IFN-? and RANTES production.
Autophagy is a key regulator of cellular homeostasis that can be activated by pathogen-associated molecules and recently has been shown to influence IL-1? secretion by macrophages. However, the mechanisms behind this are unclear. Here, we describe a novel role for autophagy in regulating the production of IL-1? in antigen-presenting cells. After treatment of macrophages with Toll-like receptor ligands, pro-IL-1? was specifically sequestered into autophagosomes, whereas further activation of autophagy with rapamycin induced the degradation of pro-IL-1? and blocked secretion of the mature cytokine. Inhibition of autophagy promoted the processing and secretion of IL-1? by antigen-presenting cells in an NLRP3- and TRIF-dependent manner. This effect was reduced by inhibition of reactive oxygen species but was independent of NOX2. Induction of autophagy in mice in vivo with rapamycin reduced serum levels of IL-1? in response to challenge with LPS. These data demonstrate that autophagy controls the production of IL-1? through at least two separate mechanisms: by targeting pro-IL-1? for lysosomal degradation and by regulating activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome.
The mucosal epithelium is the initial target for respiratory pathogens of all types. While type I interferon (IFN) signaling is traditionally associated with antiviral immunity, we demonstrate that the extracellular bacterial pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae activates the type I IFN cascade in airway epithelial and dendritic cells. This response is dependent upon the pore-forming toxin pneumolysin. Pneumococcal DNA activates IFN-? expression through a DAI/STING/TBK1/IRF3 cascade. Tlr4(-/-), Myd88(-/-), Trif(-/-), and Nod2(-/-) mutant mice had no impairment of type I IFN signaling. Induction of type I IFN signaling contributes to the eradication of pneumococcal carriage, as IFN-?/? receptor null mice had significantly increased nasal colonization with S. pneumoniae compared with that of wild-type mice. These studies suggest that the type I IFN cascade is a central component of the mucosal response to airway bacterial pathogens and is responsive to bacterial pathogen-associated molecular patterns that are capable of accessing intracellular receptors.
The type I interferons (IFNs), IFN-? and -?, are key effector molecules of the immune response to viruses. The anti-viral action of IFNs on virus-infected cells and surrounding tissues is mediated by expression of hundreds of IFN-stimulated genes. Viperin (virus inhibitory protein, endoplasmic reticulum-associated, IFN-inducible) is an Interferon stimulated gene (ISG), which is induced by type I, II, and III IFNs or after infection with a broad range of DNA and RNA viruses. Recent evidence indicates that Viperin disrupts lipid rafts to block influenza virus budding and release and interferes with replication of hepatitis C virus by binding to lipid droplets, small organelles involved in lipid homeostasis that are essential for hepatitis C virus replication. Viperin is also induced by nonviral microbial products such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and by a wide range of bacteria, suggesting a broader role in innate antimicrobial defenses.
Autophagy, a cellular process for organelle and protein turnover, regulates innate immune responses. Here we demonstrate that depletion of the autophagic proteins LC3B and beclin 1 enhanced the activation of caspase-1 and secretion of interleukin 1? (IL-1?) and IL-18. Depletion of autophagic proteins promoted the accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria and cytosolic translocation of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and ATP in macrophages. Release of mtDNA into the cytosol depended on the NALP3 inflammasome and mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS). Cytosolic mtDNA contributed to the secretion of IL-1? and IL-18 in response to LPS and ATP. LC3B-deficient mice produced more caspase-1-dependent cytokines in two sepsis models and were susceptible to LPS-induced mortality. Our study suggests that autophagic proteins regulate NALP3-dependent inflammation by preserving mitochondrial integrity.
Murine Aim2 and p202 proteins (encoded by the Aim2 and Ifi202 genes) are members of the IFN-inducible p200 protein family. Both proteins can sense dsDNA in the cytoplasm. However, upon sensing dsDNA, only the Aim2 protein through its pyrin domain can form an inflammasome to activate caspase-1 and induce cell death. Given that the p202 protein has been predicted to inhibit the activation of caspase-1 by the Aim2 protein and that increased levels of the p202 protein in female mice of certain strains are associated with lupus susceptibility, we compared the expression of Aim2 and Ifi202 genes between Aim2-deficient and age-matched wild-type mice. We found that the Aim2 deficiency in immune cells stimulated the expression of Ifi202 gene. The increased levels of the p202 protein in cells were associated with increases in the expression of IFN-?, STAT1, and IFN-inducible genes. Moreover, after knockdown of Aim2 expression in the murine macrophage cell line J774.A1, IFN-? treatment of cells robustly increased STAT1 protein levels (compared with those of control cells), increased the activating phosphorylation of STAT1 on Tyr-701, and stimulated the activity of an IFN-responsive reporter. Notably, the expression of Aim2 in non-lupus-prone (C57BL/6 and B6.Nba2-C) and lupus-prone (B6.Nba2-ABC) splenic cells and in a murine macrophage cell line that overexpressed p202 protein was found to be inversely correlated with Ifi202. Collectively, our observations demonstrate an inverse correlation between Aim2 and p202 expressions. We predict that defects in Aim2 expression within immune cells contribute to increased susceptibility to lupus.
The discovery of the Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and their importance in the regulation of host responses to infection raised attention to the complex interplay between viral gene products and the host innate immune responses in determining the outcome of virus infection. Robust inflammatory cytokine responses are observed in herpes simplex virus (HSV)-infected animals and cells. Our studies have demonstrated that Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) activation by HSV results in NF-?B activation with concomitant inflammatory cytokine production and that TLR2 activation plays a critical role in HSV-induced pathology and mortality. Here we demonstrate that the HSV-1 immediate-early ICP0 protein reduces the TLR2-mediated inflammatory response to HSV 1 (HSV-1) infection. Expression of ICP0 alone is sufficient to block TLR2-driven responses to both viral and nonviral ligands at or downstream of the MyD88 adaptor and upstream of p65. ICP0 alone can also reduce the levels of MyD88 and Mal (TIRAP). In HSV-infected cells, the E3 ligase function of ICP0 and cellular proteasomal activity are required for the inhibitory activity. Our results argue for a model in which ICP0 promotes the degradation of TLR adaptor molecules and inhibition of the inflammatory response, much as it inhibits the interferon response by sequestration and degradation of interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3).
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