Project description:Absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) is a cytoplasmic sensor that upon recognizing double-stranded DNA assembles with apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) and procaspase-1 to form the multi-protein complex AIM2 inflammasome. Double-stranded DNA from bacterial, viral, or host cellular origins triggers AIM2 inflammasome assembly and activation, ultimately resulting in secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and pyroptotic cell death in order to eliminate microbial infection. Many pathogens therefore evade or suppress AIM2 inflammasome to establish infection. On the other hand, AIM2 activation is tightly controlled by multiple cellular factors to prevent autoinflammation. Extensive structural studies have captured the molecular details of multiple steps in AIM2 inflammasome assembly. The structures collectively revealed a nucleated polymerization mechanism that not only pervades each step of AIM2 inflammasome assembly, but also underlies assembly of other inflammasomes and complexes in immune signaling. In this article, we briefly review the identification of AIM2 as a cytoplasmic DNA sensor, summarize the importance of AIM2 inflammasome in infections and diseases, and discuss the molecular mechanisms of AIM2 assembly, activation, and regulation using recent cellular, biochemical, and structural results.
Project description:Absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) inflammasome is a multi-protein platform that recognizes aberrant cytoplasmic dsDNA and induces cytokine maturation, release and pyroptosis. It is composed of AIM2, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC), and caspase-1. Recent X-ray crystallographic and high resolution cryo-electron microscopic (cryo-EM) studies have revealed a series of structures in AIM2 inflammasome activation and regulation. One prominent feature common in multiple steps is the assembly of high-order structures, especially helical filaments nucleated by upstream molecules, rather than stoichiometric complexes. In this review, we track the AIM2 inflammasome activation process step by step, using high-resolution structures to illustrate the overall architecture of AIM2 inflammasome and its assembly and regulatory mechanisms.
Project description:AIM2, a cytosolic DNA sensor, plays an important role during infection caused by pathogens with double-stranded DNA; however, its role in human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection remains unclear. Previously, we showed an increase in AIM2 protein levels during the early stage of HCMV infection and a decrease 24 h post infection. Because HCMV has developed a variety of strategies to evade host immunity, we speculated that this decline might be attributed to a viral immune escape mechanism. The tegument protein pUL83 is an important immune evasion protein and several studies have reported that pUL83 binds to specific cellular proteins, such as AIM2-like receptor IFI16, to affect their functions. To determine whether pUL83 contributes to the variation in AIM2 levels during HCMV infection, we investigated the pUL83/AIM2 interaction and its impact on the AIM2 inflammasome activation.We constructed plasmids expressing recombinant pUL83 and AIM2 proteins for two-hybrid and chemiluminescence assays. Using co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescent co-localization, we confirmed the interaction of pUL83/AIM2 in THP-1-derived macrophages infected with HCMV AD169 strain. Furthermore, by investigating the expression and cleavage of inflammasome-associated proteins in recombinant HEK293T cells expressing AIM2, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein (ASC), pro-caspase-1 and pro-IL-1?, we evaluated the effect of pUL83 on the AIM2 inflammasome.An interaction between pUL83 and AIM2 was detected in macrophages infected with HCMV as well as in transfected HEK293T cells. Moreover, transfection of the pUL83 expression vector into recombinant HEK293T cells stimulated by poly(dA:dT) resulted in reduced expression and activation of AIM2 inflammasome-associated proteins, compared with the absence of pUL83.Our data indicate that pUL83 interacts with AIM2 in the cytoplasm during the early stages of HCMV infection. The pUL83/AIM2 interaction deregulates the activation of AIM2 inflammasome. These findings reveal a new strategy of immune evasion developed by HCMV, which may facilitate latent infection.
Project description:Neurodevelopment is characterized by rapid rates of neural cell proliferation and differentiation followed by massive cell death in which more than half of all recently generated brain cells are pruned back. Large amounts of DNA damage, cellular debris, and by-products of cellular stress are generated during these neurodevelopmental events, all of which can potentially activate immune signalling. How the immune response to this collateral damage influences brain maturation and function remains unknown. Here we show that the AIM2 inflammasome contributes to normal brain development and that disruption of this immune sensor of genotoxic stress leads to behavioural abnormalities. During infection, activation of the AIM2 inflammasome in response to double-stranded DNA damage triggers the production of cytokines as well as a gasdermin-D-mediated form of cell death known as pyroptosis<sup>1-4</sup>. We observe pronounced AIM2 inflammasome activation in neurodevelopment and find that defects in this sensor of DNA damage result in anxiety-related behaviours in mice. Furthermore, we show that the AIM2 inflammasome contributes to central nervous system (CNS) homeostasis specifically through its regulation of gasdermin-D, and not via its involvement in the production of the cytokines IL-1 and/or IL-18. Consistent with a role for this sensor of genomic stress in the purging of genetically compromised CNS cells, we find that defective AIM2 inflammasome signalling results in decreased neural cell death both in response to DNA damage-inducing agents and during neurodevelopment. Moreover, mutations in AIM2 lead to excessive accumulation of DNA damage in neurons as well as an increase in the number of neurons that incorporate into the adult brain. Our findings identify the inflammasome as a crucial player in establishing a properly formed CNS through its role in the removal of genetically compromised cells.
Project description:Type I interferon restrains interleukin-1? (IL-1?)-driven inflammation in macrophages by upregulating cholesterol-25-hydroxylase (Ch25h) and repressing SREBP transcription factors. However, the molecular links between lipid metabolism and IL-1? production remain obscure. Here, we demonstrate that production of 25-hydroxycholesterol (25-HC) by macrophages is required to prevent inflammasome activation by the DNA sensor protein absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2). We find that in response to bacterial infection or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulation, macrophages upregulate Ch25h to maintain repression of SREBP2 activation and cholesterol synthesis. Increasing macrophage cholesterol content is sufficient to trigger IL-1? release in a crystal-independent but AIM2-dependent manner. Ch25h deficiency results in cholesterol-dependent reduced mitochondrial respiratory capacity and release of mitochondrial DNA into the cytosol. AIM2 deficiency rescues the increased inflammasome activity observed in Ch25h-/-. Therefore, activated macrophages utilize 25-HC in an anti-inflammatory circuit that maintains mitochondrial integrity and prevents spurious AIM2 inflammasome activation.
Project description:Host- and pathogen-associated cytoplasmic double-stranded DNA triggers the activation of a NALP3 (also known as cryopyrin and NLRP3)-independent inflammasome, which activates caspase-1 leading to maturation of pro-interleukin-1beta and inflammation. The nature of the cytoplasmic-DNA-sensing inflammasome is currently unknown. Here we show that AIM2 (absent in melanoma 2), an interferon-inducible HIN-200 family member that contains an amino-terminal pyrin domain and a carboxy-terminal oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding domain, senses cytoplasmic DNA by means of its oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding domain and interacts with ASC (apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD) through its pyrin domain to activate caspase-1. The interaction of AIM2 with ASC also leads to the formation of the ASC pyroptosome, which induces pyroptotic cell death in cells containing caspase-1. Knockdown of AIM2 by short interfering RNA reduced inflammasome/pyroptosome activation by cytoplasmic DNA in human and mouse macrophages, whereas stable expression of AIM2 in the non-responsive human embryonic kidney 293T cell line conferred responsiveness to cytoplasmic DNA. Our results show that cytoplasmic DNA triggers formation of the AIM2 inflammasome by inducing AIM2 oligomerization. This study identifies AIM2 as an important inflammasome component that senses potentially dangerous cytoplasmic DNA, leading to activation of the ASC pyroptosome and caspase-1.
Project description:Only a few types of inflammasomes have been described in central nervous system cells. Among these, the absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) inflammasome is primarily found in neurons, is highly specific and can be activated only by double-stranded DNA. Although it has been demonstrated that the AIM2 inflammasome is activated by poly(deoxyadenylic-deoxythymidylic) acid sodium salt and leads to pyroptotic neuronal cell death, the role of AIM2 inflammasome-mediated pyroptosis in early brain injury (EBI) after subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) has rarely been studied. Thus, we designed this study to explore the mechanism of gasdermin D(GSDMD)-induced pyroptosis mediated by the AIM2 inflammasome in EBI after SAH. The level of AIM2 from the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with SAH was detected. The pathway of AIM2 inflammasome-mediated pyroptosis, the AIM2/Caspase-1/GSDMD pathway, was explored after experimental SAH in vivo and in primary cortical neurons stimulated by oxyhaemoglobin (oxyHb) in vitro. Then, we evaluated GSDMD-induced pyroptosis mediated by the AIM2 inflammasome in AIM2 and caspase-1- deficient mice and primary cortical neurons generated through lentivirus (LV) knockdown. Compared with that of the control samples, the AIM2 level in the CSF of the patients with SAH was significantly increased. Pyroptosis-associated proteins mediated by the AIM2 inflammasome were significantly increased in vivo and in vitro following experimentally induced SAH. After AIM2 and caspase-1 were knocked down by an LV, GSDMD-induced pyroptosis mediated by the AIM2 inflammasome was alleviated in EBI after SAH. Intriguingly, when caspase-1 was knocked down, apoptosis was significantly suppressed via impeding the activation of caspase-3. GSDMD-induced pyroptosis mediated by the AIM2 inflammasome may be involved in EBI following SAH. The inhibition of AIM2 inflammasome activation caused by knocking down AIM2 and caspase-1 alleviates GSDMD-induced pyroptosis in EBI after SAH.
Project description:Background:Korean Red Ginseng extract (RGE) has been reported to act as an inflammasome modulator. Ginsenosides, saponin molecules of RGE, selectively inhibit activation of NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes, while non-saponin molecules of RGE upregulate inflammasome components associated with the initiation of NLRP3 inflammasome activation. In this study, we investigated the effect of non-saponin components of RGE on AIM2 inflammasome activation. Methods:The role of non-saponins of RGE on AIM2 inflammasomes was tested in mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages, a human monocyte-like cell line, and a mouse animal model. Cells or mice were transfected with dsDNA or inoculated with Listeria monocytogenes to activate AIM2 inflammasomes. Several indices of inflammasome activation were examined via immunoblot or ELISA analysis. Results:The non-saponin fraction and saponin-eliminating fraction (SEF) of RGE selectively attenuated the activation of AIM2 inflammasomes, but not that of NLRP3 or NLRC4 inflammasomes. Fructose-arginine, an amino-sugar, was shown to be effective against AIM2 inflammasome activation. Conclusion:Non-saponins of RGE, such as fructose-arginine, might be effective in regulating infectious and autoimmune diseases resulting from AIM2 inflammasome activation.
Project description:Mouse p202 is a disease locus for lupus and a dominant-negative inhibitor of AIM2 inflammasome activation. A human homolog of p202 has not been identified so far. Here, we report a novel transcript isoform of human IFI16-designated IFI16-?, which has a domain architecture similar to that of mouse p202. Like p202, IFI16-? contains two HIN domains, but lacks the pyrin domain. IFI16-? is ubiquitously expressed in various human tissues and cells. Its mRNA levels are also elevated in leukocytes of patients with lupus, virus-infected cells, and cells treated with interferon-? or phorbol ester. IFI16-? co-localizes with AIM2 in the cytoplasm, whereas IFI16-? is predominantly found in the nucleus. IFI16-? interacts with AIM2 to impede the formation of a functional AIM2-ASC complex. In addition, IFI16-? sequesters cytoplasmic dsDNA and renders it unavailable for AIM2 sensing. Enforced expression of IFI16-? inhibits the activation of AIM2 inflammasome, whereas knockdown of IFI16-? augments interleukin-1? secretion triggered by dsDNA but not dsRNA Thus, cytoplasm-localized IFI16-? is functionally equivalent to mouse p202 that exerts an inhibitory effect on AIM2 inflammasome.
Project description:BACKGROUND:AIM2 binds dsDNA and associates with ASC through their PYDs to form an inflammasome. RESULTS:The AIM2 PYD structure illustrates distinct charge distribution and a unique hydrophobic patch. CONCLUSION:The AIM2 PYD may bind the ASC PYD and the AIM2 HIN domain through overlapping surface. SIGNIFICANCE:These findings provide insights into the mechanisms of AIM2 autoinhibition and inflammasome assembly. Absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) is a cytosolic double-stranded (dsDNA) sensor essential for innate immune responses against DNA viruses and bacteria such as Francisella and Listeria. Upon dsDNA engagement, the AIM2 amino-terminal pyrin domain (PYD) is responsible for downstream signaling to the adapter protein apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain (ASC) through homotypic PYD-PYD interactions and the assembly of an inflammasome. Toward a better understanding of the AIM2 signaling mechanism, we determined the crystal structure of the human AIM2 PYD. The structure reveals a death domain fold with a short ?3 helix that is buttressed by a highly conserved lysine residue at the ?2 helix, which may stabilize the ?3 helix for potential interaction with partner domains. The surface of the AIM2 PYD exhibits distinct charge distribution with highly acidic ?1-?2 helices and highly basic ?5-?6 helices. A prominent solvent-exposed hydrophobic patch formed by residues Phe-27 and Phe-28 at the ?2 helix resembles a similar surface involved in the death effector domain homotypic interactions. Docking studies suggest that the AIM2 PYD may bind the AIM2 hematopoietic interferon-inducible nuclear (HIN) domain or ASC PYD using overlapping surface near the ?2 helix. This may ensure that AIM2 interacts with the downstream adapter ASC only upon release of the autoinhibition by the dsDNA ligand. Our work thus unveils novel structural features of the AIM2 PYD and provides insights into the potential mechanisms of the PYD-HIN and PYD-PYD interactions important for AIM2 autoinhibition and inflammasome assembly.