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.
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.
Nuclear Factor-?B (NF-?B)/Rel transcription factors form an integral part of innate immune defenses and are conserved throughout the animal kingdom. Studying the function, mechanism of activation and regulation of these factors is crucial for understanding host responses to microbial infections. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has proved to be a valuable model system to study these evolutionarily conserved NF-?B mediated immune responses. Drosophila combats pathogens through humoral and cellular immune responses. These humoral responses are well characterized and are marked by the robust production of a battery of anti-microbial peptides. Two NF-?B signaling pathways, the Toll and the IMD pathways, are responsible for the induction of these antimicrobial peptides. Signal transduction in these pathways is strikingly similar to that in mammalian TLR pathways. In this chapter, we discuss in detail the molecular mechanisms of microbial recognition, signal transduction and NF-?B regulation, in both the Toll and the IMD pathways. Similarities and differences relative to their mammalian counterparts are discussed, and recent advances in our understanding of the intricate regulatory networks in these NF-?B signaling pathways are also highlighted.
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.
Inflammasomes regulate the activity of caspase-1 and the maturation of interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta) and IL-18. AIM2 has been shown to bind DNA and engage the caspase-1-activating adaptor protein ASC to form a caspase-1-activating inflammasome. Using Aim2-deficient mice, we identify a central role for AIM2 in regulating caspase-1-dependent maturation of IL-1beta and IL-18, as well as pyroptosis, in response to synthetic double-stranded DNA. AIM2 was essential for inflammasome activation in response to Francisella tularensis, vaccinia virus and mouse cytomegalovirus and had a partial role in the sensing of Listeria monocytogenes. Moreover, production of IL-18 and natural killer cell-dependent production of interferon-gamma, events critical in the early control of virus replication, were dependent on AIM2 during mouse cytomegalovirus infection in vivo. Collectively, our observations demonstrate the importance of AIM2 in the sensing of both bacterial and viral pathogens and in triggering innate immunity.
Candida albicans is an opportunistic fungal pathogen causing life-threatening mucosal and systemic infections in immunocompromised humans. Using a murine model of mucosal Candida infection, we investigated the role of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1beta in host defense to Candida albicans. We find that the synthesis, processing, and release of IL-1beta in response to Candida are tightly controlled and first require transcriptional induction, followed by a second signal leading to caspase-1-mediated cleavage of the pro-IL-1beta cytokine. The known fungal pattern recognition receptors TLR2 and Dectin-1 regulate IL-1beta gene transcription, whereas the NLRP3-containing proinflammatory multiprotein complex, the NLRP3 inflammasome, controls caspase-1-mediated cleavage of pro-IL-1beta. Furthermore, we show that TLR2, Dectin-1, and NLRP3 are essential for defense against dissemination of mucosal infection and mortality in vivo. Therefore, in addition to sensing bacterial and viral pathogens, the NLRP3 inflammasome senses fungal pathogens and is critical in host defense against Candida.
Fas, a TNF family receptor, is activated by the membrane protein Fas ligand expressed on various immune cells. Fas signaling triggers apoptosis and induces inflammatory cytokine production. Among the Fas-induced cytokines, the IL-1? family cytokines require proteolysis to gain biological activity. Inflammasomes, which respond to pathogens and danger signals, cleave IL-1? cytokines via caspase-1. However, the mechanisms by which Fas regulates IL-1? activation remain unresolved. In this article, we demonstrate that macrophages exposed to TLR ligands upregulate Fas, which renders them responsive to receptor engagement by Fas ligand. Fas signaling activates caspase-8 in macrophages and dendritic cells, leading to the maturation of IL-1? and IL-18 independently of inflammasomes or RIP3. Hence, Fas controls a novel noncanonical IL-1? activation pathway in myeloid cells, which could play an essential role in inflammatory processes, tumor surveillance, and control of infectious diseases.
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