AIM2 Inflammasome Is Critical for Influenza-Induced Lung Injury and Mortality.
ABSTRACT: The absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) inflammasome plays an important role in many viral and bacterial infections, but very little is known about its role in RNA virus infection, including influenza A virus (IAV). In this study, we have designed in vivo and in vitro studies to determine the role of AIM2 in infections with lethal doses of IAVs A/PR8/34 and A/California/07/09. In wild-type mice, IAV infection enhanced AIM2 expression, induced dsDNA release, and stimulated caspase-1 activation and release of cleaved IL-1? in the lung, which was significantly reduced in AIM2-deficient mice. Interestingly, AIM2 deficiency did not affect the transcription of caspase-1 and IL-1?. In addition, AIM2-deficient mice exhibited attenuated lung injury and significantly improved survival against IAV challenges, but did not alter viral burden in the lung. However, AIM2 deficiency did not seem to affect adaptive immune response against IAV infections. Furthermore, experiments with AIM2-specific small interfering RNA-treated and AIM2-deficient human and mouse lung alveolar macrophages and type II cells indicated a macrophage-specific function of AIM2 in regulation of IAV-stimulated proinflammatory response. Collectively, our results demonstrate that influenza infection activates the AIM2 inflammasome, which plays a critical role in IAV-induced lung injury and mortality. AIM2 might serve as a therapeutic target for combating influenza-associated morbidity and mortality without compromising the host antiviral responses.
Project description:The DNA sensor absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) forms an inflammasome complex with ASC and caspase-1 in response to Francisella tularensis subspecies novicida infection, leading to maturation of IL-1? and IL-18 and pyroptosis. AIM2 is critical for host protection against F. novicida infection in vivo; however, the role of pyroptosis downstream of the AIM2 inflammasome is unknown. Recent studies have identified gasdermin D (GSDMD) as the molecule executing pyroptosis by forming pores on the plasma membrane following activation by inflammatory caspase-1 and -11. In this study, we report that GSDMD-deficient mice were susceptible to F. novicida infection compared with wild type mice. Interestingly, we observed that GSDMD is required for optimal caspase-1 activation and pyroptotic cell death in F. novicida-infected bone marrow-derived macrophages. Furthermore, caspase-1 activation was compromised in bone marrow-derived macrophages lacking GSDMD stimulated with other AIM2 inflammasome triggers, including poly(dA:dT) transfection and mouse CMV infection. Overall, our study highlights a function, to our knowledge previously unknown, for GSDMD in promoting caspase-1 activation by AIM2 inflammasome.
Project description:The avian origin influenza A virus (IAV) H7N9 has caused a considerable number of human infections associated with high rates of death since its emergence in 2013. As a vital component of the host innate immune system, the nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat containing receptor, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome plays a critical role against H1N1 viral infection. However, the function of NLRP3 inflammasome in host immunological responses to the lethal H7N9 virus is still obscure. Here, we demonstrated that mice deficient for NLRP3 inflammasome components, including NLRP3, caspase-1, and Apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC), were less susceptible to H7N9 viral challenge than wild type (WT) controls. Inflammasome deficiency in these animals led to significantly milder mortality and less pulmonary inflammation compared with WT mice. Furthermore, IL-1 receptor deficient mice also exhibited a higher survival rate than WT controls. Thus, our study reveals that the NLRP3 inflammasome is deleterious for the host during H7N9 infection in mice, which is due to an overwhelming inflammatory response via caspase-1 activation and associated IL-1 signal. Therefore, fine-tuning the activity of NLRP3 inflammasome or IL-1 signaling may be beneficial for the host to control H7N9 associated lethal pathogenesis.
Project description:Innate immune sensing of influenza A virus (IAV) induces activation of various immune effector mechanisms, including the nucleotide and oligomerization domain, leucine-rich repeat-containing protein family, pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome and programmed cell death pathways. Although type I IFNs are identified as key mediators of inflammatory and cell death responses during IAV infection, the involvement of various IFN-regulated effectors in facilitating these responses are less studied. In this study, we demonstrate the role of IFN regulatory factor (IRF)1 in promoting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and cell death during IAV infection. Both inflammasome-dependent responses and induction of apoptosis and necroptosis are reduced in cells lacking IRF1 infected with IAV. The observed reduction in inflammasome activation and cell death in IRF1-deficient cells during IAV infection correlates with reduced levels of Z-DNA binding protein 1 (ZBP1), a key molecule mediating IAV-induced inflammatory and cell death responses. We further demonstrate IRF1 as a transcriptional regulator of ZBP1. Overall, our study identified IRF1 as an upstream regulator of NLRP3 inflammasome and cell death during IAV infection and further highlights the complex and multilayered regulation of key molecules controlling inflammatory response and cell fate decisions during infections.
Project description: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.
Project description:Francisella tularensis (Ft) causes a frequently fatal, acute necrotic pneumonia in humans and animals. Following lethal Ft infection in mice, infiltration of the lungs by predominantly immature myeloid cells and subsequent myeloid cell death drive pathogenesis and host mortality. However, following sub-lethal Ft challenge, more mature myeloid cells are elicited and are protective. In addition, inflammasome-dependent IL-1? and IL-18 are important for protection. As Nlrp3 appears dispensable for resistance to infection with Francisella novicida, we considered its role during infection with the virulent Type A strain SchuS4 and the attenuated Type B live vaccine strain LVS. Here we show that both in vitro macrophage and in vivo IL-1? and IL-18 responses to Ft LVS and SchuS4 involve both the Aim2 and Nlrp3 inflammasomes. However, following lethal infection with Francisella, IL-1r-, Caspase-1/11-, Asc- and Aim2-deficient mice exhibited increased susceptibility as expected, while Nlrp3-deficient mice were more resistant. Despite reduced levels of IL-1? and IL-18, in the absence of Nlrp3, Ft infected mice have dramatically reduced lung pathology, diminished recruitment and death of immature myeloid cells, and reduced bacterial burden in comparison to wildtype and inflammasome-deficient mice. Further, increased numbers of mature neutrophil appear in the lung early during lethal Ft infection in Nlrp3-deficient mice. Finally, Ft infection induces myeloid and lung stromal cell death that in part requires Nlrp3, is necrotic/necroptotic in nature, and drives host mortality. Thus, Nlrp3 mediates an inflammasome-independent process that restricts the appearance of protective mature neutrophils and promotes lethal necrotic lung pathology.
Project description:Secondary methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection is a cause of severe pneumonia with high mortality during influenza A virus (IAV) pandemics. Alveolar macrophages (AMs) mount cellular defenses against IAV and MRSA infection, which occurs via the nucleotide-binding domain-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome. However, the activity and function of the NLRP3 inflammasome in MRSA pneumonia secondary to IAV infection remain unclear. To clarify this, we studied MRSA infection secondary to IAV both in vitro and in mouse model. The expression of the NLRP3 inflammasome was evaluated by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, immunofluorescence, Western blot, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. The lung pathology and the rate of weight change were observed. We found that IAV infection for 1 week activated NLRP3 inflammasome. The enhanced expression of NLRP3, caspase-1, and cleaved caspase-1 was associated with MRSA infection secondary to IAV, but the expression of interleukin (IL)-1? decreased in superinfection with MRSA both in vitro and in vivo. The aggravated inflammatory pathology in MRSA pneumonia secondary to IAV infection was associated with decreased expression of IL-1?. And increased weight loss in MRSA pneumonia secondary to IAV infection was related to decreased concentration of IL-1? in serum. It infers that superinfection with MRSA reduces expression of IL-1? someway, and decreased expression of IL-1? impairs the host immunity and leads to aggravated pneumonia. These results contributed to our understanding of the detailed activity of the NLRP3 inflammasome, IL-1?, and their relationship with aggravation of MRSA pneumonia secondary to IAV infection. Immunotherapy targeting the IL-1? signaling pathway could be possible therapeutic strategy for secondary MRSA pneumonia.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Severe influenza A virus (IAV) infections are associated with damaging hyperinflammation that can be fatal. There is an urgent need to identify new therapeutic agents to treat severe and pathogenic IAV infections. Repurposing of drugs with an existing and studied pharmacokinetic and safety profile is a highly attractive potential strategy. We have previously demonstrated that the NLRP3 inflammasome plays time-dependent roles during severe IAV infection with early protective responses and later dysregulation leading to excessive inflammation, contributing to disease severity. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:We tested two existing drugs, probenecid and AZ11645373, to target P2X7 receptor signalling and dampen NLRP3 inflammasome responses during severe IAV infection. In vitro, the drugs were assessed for their ability to limit NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent IL-1? secretion in macrophage cultures. In vivo, their effects were assessed on hyperinflammation and disease during severe IAV infection in C57BL/6 mice. KEY RESULTS:Treatment of macrophages with probenecid or AZ11645373 in vitro diminished NLRP3 inflammasome-dependent IL-1? secretion. Intranasal therapeutic treatment of mice displaying severe influenza disease with probenecid or AZ11645373 reduced pro-inflammatory cytokine production, cellular infiltrates in the lung, and provided protection against disease. Importantly, these drugs could be administered at either early or late stage of disease and provide therapeutic efficacy. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:Our study demonstrates that the anti-inflammatory drugs probenecid and AZ11645373, which have documented pharmacokinetics and safety profiles in humans, are effective at dampening hyperinflammation and severe influenza disease providing potentially new therapeutic strategies for treating severe or pathogenic IAV infections.
Project description:Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis is a leading cause of infection-associated mortality in immunocompromised individuals. Aspergillus fumigatus infection produces ligands that could activate inflammasomes, but the contribution of these host defenses remains unclear. We show that two inflammasome receptors, AIM2 and NLRP3, recognize intracellular A. fumigatus and collectively induce protective immune responses. Mice lacking both AIM2 and NLRP3 fail to confine Aspergillus hyphae to inflammatory foci, leading to widespread hyphal dissemination to lung blood vessels. These mice succumb to infection more rapidly than WT mice or mice lacking a single inflammasome receptor. AIM2 and NLRP3 activation initiates assembly of a single cytoplasmic inflammasome platform, composed of the adaptor protein ASC along with caspase-1 and caspase-8. Combined actions of caspase-1 and caspase-8 lead to processing of pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1? and IL-18 that critically control the infection. Thus, AIM2 and NLRP3 form a dual cytoplasmic surveillance system that orchestrates responses against A. fumigatus infection.
Project description:Macrophages respond to cytosolic nucleic acids by activating cysteine protease caspase-1 within a complex called the inflammasome. Subsequent cleavage and secretion of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1beta and IL-18 are critical for innate immunity. Here, we show that macrophages from mice lacking absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) cannot sense cytosolic double-stranded DNA and fail to trigger inflammasome assembly. Caspase-1 activation in response to intracellular pathogen Francisella tularensis also required AIM2. Immunofluorescence microscopy of macrophages infected with F. tularensis revealed striking colocalization of bacterial DNA with endogenous AIM2 and inflammasome adaptor ASC. By contrast, type I IFN (IFN-alpha and -beta) secretion in response to F. tularensis did not require AIM2. IFN-I did, however, boost AIM2-dependent caspase-1 activation by increasing AIM2 protein levels. Thus, inflammasome activation was reduced in infected macrophages lacking either the IFN-I receptor or stimulator of interferon genes (STING). Finally, AIM2-deficient mice displayed increased susceptibility to F. tularensis infection compared with wild-type mice. Their increased bacterial burden in vivo confirmed that AIM2 is essential for an effective innate immune response.
Project description:Mayaro virus (MAYV) is an arbovirus that circulates in Latin America and is emerging as a potential threat to public health. Infected individuals develop Mayaro fever, a severe inflammatory disease characterized by high fever, rash, arthralgia, myalgia and headache. The disease is often associated with a prolonged arthralgia mediated by a chronic inflammation that can last months. Although the immune response against other arboviruses, such as chikungunya virus (CHIKV), dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV), has been extensively studied, little is known about the pathogenesis of MAYV infection. In this study, we established models of MAYV infection in macrophages and in mice and found that MAYV can replicate in bone marrow-derived macrophages and robustly induce expression of inflammasome proteins, such as NLRP3, ASC, AIM2, and Caspase-1 (CASP1). Infection performed in macrophages derived from Nlrp3-/-, Aim2-/-, Asc-/-and Casp1/11-/-mice indicate that the NLRP3, but not AIM2 inflammasome is essential for production of inflammatory cytokines, such as IL-1?. We also determined that MAYV triggers NLRP3 inflammasome activation by inducing reactive oxygen species (ROS) and potassium efflux. In vivo infections performed in inflammasome-deficient mice indicate that NLRP3 is involved with footpad swelling, inflammation and pain, establishing a role of the NLRP3 inflammasome in the MAYV pathogenesis. Accordingly, we detected higher levels of caspase1-p20, IL-1? and IL-18 in the serum of MAYV-infected patients as compared to healthy individuals, supporting the participation of the NLRP3-inflammasome during MAYV infection in humans.