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1.  NLRP1 dependent pyroptosis leads to acute lung injury and morbidity in mice 
Acute inflammation in response to both exogenous and endogenous danger signals can lead to the assembly of cytoplasmic inflammasomes that stimulate the activation of caspase-1. Subsequently, caspase-1 facilitates the maturation and release of cytokines and also, under some circumstances, the induction of cell death by pyroptosis. Using a mouse line lacking expression of NLRP1, we show that assembly of this inflammasome in cells is triggered by a toxin from Anthrax and that it initiates caspase-1 activation and release of IL-1β. Furthermore, NLRP1 inflammasome activation also leads to cell death, which escalates over three days following exposure to the toxin and culminates in acute lung injury and death of the mice. We show that these events are not dependent on production of IL-1β by the inflammasome but are dependent on caspase-1 expression. In contrast, MDP mediated inflammasome formation is not dependent on NLRP1, but NLRP3. Taken together, our findings show that assembly of the NLRP1 inflammasome is sufficient to initiate pyroptosis, which subsequently leads to a self-amplifying cascade of cell injury within the lung from which the lung cannot recover, eventually resulting in catastrophic consequences for the organism.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1201065
PMCID: PMC3635067  PMID: 22753929
2.  PGE2 produced by the lung augments the effector phase of allergic inflammation 
Elevated PGE2 is a hallmark of most inflammatory lesions. This lipid mediator can induce the cardinal signs of inflammation, and the beneficial actions of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are attributed to inhibition of cyclooxygenase COX-1 and COX-2, enzymes essential in the biosynthesis of PGE2 from arachidonic acid. However, both clinical studies and rodent models suggest that, in the asthmatic lung, PGE2 acts to restrain the immune response and limit physiological change secondary to inflammation. To directly address the role of PGE2 in the lung, we examined the development of disease in mice lacking microsomal prostaglandin E synthase 1 (mPGES1), which converts COX-1/COX-2 derived PGH2 to PGE2. We show that mPGES1 determines PGE2 levels in the naïve lung and is required for increases in PGE2 after ovalbumin (OVA) induced allergy. While loss of either COX-1 or COX-2 increases the disease severity, surprisingly mPGES1 −/− mice show reduced inflammation. However, an increase in serum IgE is still observed in the mPGES1 −/− mice, suggesting that loss of PGE2 does not impair induction of a TH2 response. Furthermore, mPGES1 −/− mice expressing a transgenic OVA-specific T cell receptor are also protected, indicating that PGE2 acts primarily after challenge with inhaled antigen. PGE2 produced by the lung plays the critical role in this response, as loss of lung mPGES1 is sufficient to protect against disease. Together this supports a model in which mPGES1-dependent PGE2 produced by populations of cells native to the lung contributes to the effector phase of some allergic responses.
doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1101873
PMCID: PMC3324636  PMID: 22412193
3.  ONZIN Deficiency Attenuates Contact Hypersensitivity Responses in Mice 
Immunology and cell biology  2012;90(7):733-742.
ONZIN is abundantly expressed in immune cells of both the myeloid and lymphoid lineage. Expression by lymphoid cells has been reported to further increase after cutaneous exposure of mice to antigens and haptens capable of inducing contact hypersensitivity, suggesting that ONZIN plays a critical role in this response. Here, we report that indeed ONZIN-deficient mice develop attenuated CHS to a number of different haptens. Dampened CHS responses correlated with a significant reduction in pro-inflammatory IL-6 at the challenge site in ONZIN-deficient animals compared to wild type controls. Together the study of these animals indicates that loss of ONZIN impacts the effector phase of the CHS response through the regulation of pro-inflammatory factors.
doi:10.1038/icb.2011.107
PMCID: PMC3336033  PMID: 22249203
Cell trafficking; Contact hypersensitivity; Inflammation; ONZIN
4.  Microsomal Prostaglandin E Synthase-2 Is Not Essential For In Vivo Prostaglandin E2 Biosynthesis 
Prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) plays an important role in the normal physiology of many organ systems. Increased levels of this lipid mediator are associated with many disease states, and it potently regulates inflammatory responses. Three enzymes capable of in vitro synthesis of PGE2 from the cyclooxygenase metabolite PGH2 have been described. Here, we examine the contribution of one of these enzymes to PGE2 production, mPges-2, which encodes microsomal prostaglandin synthase-2 (mPGES-2), by generating mice homozygous for the null allele of this gene. Loss of mPges-2 expression did not result in a measurable decrease in PGE2 levels in any tissue or cell type examined from healthy mice. Taken together, analysis of the mPGES-2 deficient mouse lines does not substantiate the contention that mPGES-2 is a PGE2 synthase.
doi:10.1016/j.prostaglandins.2008.10.003
PMCID: PMC3182462  PMID: 19010439
Microsomal Prostaglandin E2 Synthase-2; Prostaglandin E2

Results 1-4 (4)