The inflammasome is a major regulator of inflammation through its activation of procaspase-1, which cleaves prointerleukin-1β (pro-IL-1β) into its mature form. IL-1β is a critical proinflammatory cytokine that dictates the severity of inflammation associated with a wide spectrum of inflammatory diseases. NLRP3 is a key component of the inflammasome complex, and multiple signals and stimuli trigger formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome complex. In the current study, we uncovered a yet unknown mechanism of NLRP3 inflammasome activation by a pathogen-derived factor. We show that the unique bacterial ADP-ribosylating and vacuolating toxin produced by Mycoplasma pneumoniae and designated community-acquired respiratory distress syndrome (CARDS) toxin activates the NLRP3 inflammasome by colocalizing with the NLRP3 inflammasome and catalyzing the ADP-ribosylation of NLRP3. Mutant full-length CARDS toxin lacking ADP-ribosyltransferase (ADPRT) activity and truncated CARDS toxins unable to bind to macrophages and be internalized failed to activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. These studies demonstrate that CARDS toxin-mediated ADP-ribosylation constitutes an important posttranslational modification of NLRP3, that ADPRT activity of CARDS toxin is essential for NLRP3 inflammasome activation, and that posttranslational ADPRT-mediated modification of the inflammasome is a newly discovered mechanism for inflammasome activation with subsequent release of IL-1β and associated pathologies.
Inflammation is a fundamental innate immune response to environmental factors, including infections. The inflammasome represents a multiprotein complex that regulates inflammation via its ability to activate specific proinflammatory cytokines, resulting in an effective host protective response. However, excessive release of proinflammatory cytokines can occur following infection that skews the host response to “hyperinflammation” with exaggerated tissue damage. Mycoplasma pneumoniae, a common bacterial airway pathogen, possesses a unique protein toxin with ADP-ribosyltransferase and vacuolating properties capable of reproducing the robust inflammation and cytopathology associated with mycoplasma infection. Here, we show that the toxin uniquely activates the NLRP3 inflammasome by colocalizing with and ADP-ribosylating NLRP3, possibly leading to “hyperinflammation” and thus uncovering a novel target for therapeutic intervention.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a highly pathogenic lung-tropic virus that causes severe respiratory diseases. Enzymatic activity of inducible nitric oxide (iNOS) is required for NO generation. Although NO contributes to exaggerated lung disease during RSV infection, the role of NO in apoptosis during infection is not known. In addition, host trans-activator(s) required for iNOS gene expression during RSV infection is unknown. In the current study we have uncovered the mechanism of iNOS gene induction by identifying kruppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) as a critical transcription factor required for iNOS gene expression during RSV infection. Furthermore, we have also uncovered the role of iNOS as a critical host factor regulating apoptosis during RSV infection.
Respiratory syncytial virus; nitric oxide; apoptosis; transcription factor; kruppel-like factor 6; inducible nitric oxide synthase
Pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) trigger host immune response by activating pattern recognition receptors like toll-like receptors (TLRs). However, the mechanism whereby several pathogens, including viruses, activate TLRs via a non-PAMP mechanism is unclear. Endogenous “inflammatory mediators” called damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) have been implicated in regulating immune response and inflammation. However, the role of DAMPs in inflammation/immunity during virus infection has not been studied. We have identified a DAMP molecule, S100A9 (also known as Calgranulin B or MRP-14), as an endogenous non-PAMP activator of TLR signaling during influenza A virus (IAV) infection. S100A9 was released from undamaged IAV-infected cells and extracellular S100A9 acted as a critical host-derived molecular pattern to regulate inflammatory response outcome and disease during infection by exaggerating pro-inflammatory response, cell-death and virus pathogenesis. Genetic studies showed that the DDX21-TRIF signaling pathway is required for S100A9 gene expression/production during infection. Furthermore, the inflammatory activity of extracellular S100A9 was mediated by activation of the TLR4-MyD88 pathway. Our studies have thus, underscored the role of a DAMP molecule (i.e. extracellular S100A9) in regulating virus-associated inflammation and uncovered a previously unknown function of the DDX21-TRIF-S100A9-TLR4-MyD88 signaling network in regulating inflammation during infection.
The lung disease severity following influenza A virus (IAV) infection is dependent on the extent of inflammation in the respiratory tract. Severe inflammation in the lung manifests in development of pneumonia. Therefore, it is very critical to identify cellular factors and dissect the molecular/cellular mechanism controlling inflammation in the respiratory tract during IAV infection. Knowledge derived from these studies will be instrumental in development of therapeutics to combat the lung disease associated with IAV infection. Towards that end, in the current study we have identified a cellular factor S100A9 which is responsible for enhanced inflammation during IAV infection. In addition, we have characterized a signal transduction pathway involving various cellular receptors and signaling adaptors that are involved in mediating S100A9-dependent inflammatory response. Thus, our studies have illuminated a cellular/molecular mechanism that can be intervened by therapeutics to reduce and control IAV-associated lung inflammatory disease like pneumonia.
Rapamycin, a potent immunomodulatory drug, has shown promise in the amelioration of numerous age-associated diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and cardiac hypertrophy. Yet the elderly, the population most likely to receive therapeutic rapamycin, are already at increased risk for infectious disease; thus concern exists that rapamycin may exacerbate age-associated immune dysfunctions and worsen infection outcomes. Herein, we examined the impact of enteric delivered rapamycin monotherapy (eRapa) on susceptibility of aged (22–24 month) C57BL/6 mice to Streptococcus pneumoniae, the leading bacterial cause of community-acquired pneumonia. Following challenge with S. pneumoniae, administration of eRapa conferred modest protection against mortality. Reduced mortality was the result of diminished lung damage rather than reduced bacterial burden. eRapa had no effect on basal levels of Interleukin (IL)-1α, IL-6, IL-10, IL-12p70, KC, Interferon-γ, Tumor necrosis factor α and Monocyte chemotactic protein-1 in whole lung homogenates or during pneumococcal pneumonia. Previously we have demonstrated that cellular senescence enhances permissiveness for bacterial pneumonia through increased expression of the bacterial ligands Laminin receptor (LR), Platelet-activating factor receptor (PAFr) and Cytokeratin 10 (K10). These proteins are co-opted by S. pneumoniae and other respiratory tract pathogens for host cell attachment during lung infection. UM-HET3 mice on eRapa had reduced lung cellular senescence as determined by levels of the senescence markers p21 and pRB, but not mH2A.1. Mice on eRapa also had marked reductions in PAFr, LR, and K10. We conclude that eRapa protected aged mice against pneumonia through reduced lung cellular senescence, which in turn, lowered bacterial ligand expression.
aging; rapamycin; pneumonia; cellular senescence; Streptococcus pneumoniae
Influenza A virus (flu) is a respiratory tract pathogen causing high morbidity and mortality among the human population. Nitric oxide (NO) is a cellular mediator involved in tissue damage due to apoptosis of target cells and resulting enhancement of local inflammation. Inducible nitric oxide (iNOS) is involved in the production of NO following infection. Although NO is a key player in the development of exaggerated lung disease during flu infection, the underlying mechanism including the role of NO in apoptosis during infection has not been reported. Similarly, the mechanism of iNOS gene induction during flu infection is not well defined in terms of host trans-activator(s) required for iNOS gene expression. In the current study we have identified kruppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) as a critical transcription factor essential for iNOS gene expression during flu infection. We have also underscored the requirement of iNOS in inducing apoptosis during infection. KLF6 gene silencing in human lung epithelial cells resulted in drastic loss of NO production, iNOS-promoter specific luciferase activity and expression of iNOS mRNA following flu infection. Chromatin immuno-precipitation assay revealed a direct interaction of KLF6 with iNOS promoter during both in vitro and in vivo flu infection of human lung cells and mouse respiratory tract, respectively. Significant reduction in flu mediated apoptosis was noted in KLF6 silenced cells, cells treated with iNOS inhibitor and in primary murine macrophages derived from iNOS knock-out (KO) mice. A similar reduction in apoptosis was noted in the lungs following intra-tracheal flu infection of iNOS KO mice.
Cholesterol and sphingolipid enriched lipid raft micro-domains in the plasma membrane play an important role in life-cycle of numerous enveloped viruses. Although human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) proteins associate with the raft domains of infected cells and rafts are incorporated in RSV virion particles, the functional role of raft during RSV infection was unknown. In the current study we have identified rafts as an essential component of host cell that is required for RSV infection. Treatment of human lung epithelial cells with raft disrupting agent methyl-beta-cyclodextrin (MBCD) led to drastic loss of RSV infectivity due to diminished release of infectious progeny RSV virion particles from raft disrupted cells. RSV infection of raft deficient Niemann-Pick syndrome type C human fibroblasts and normal human embryonic lung fibroblasts revealed that during productive RSV infection, raft is required for release of infectious RSV particles.
Respiratory syncytial virus; cholesterol; lipid rafts; virus release
Yersinia enterocolitica is a food-borne pathogen that preferentially infects the Peyer's patches and mesenteric lymph nodes, causing an acute inflammatory reaction. Even though Y. enterocolitica induces a robust inflammatory response during infection, the bacterium has evolved a number of virulence factors to limit the extent of this response. We previously demonstrated that interleukin-1α (IL-1α) was critical for the induction of gut inflammation characteristic of Y. enterocolitica infection. More recently, the known actions of IL-1α are becoming more complex because IL-1α can function both as a proinflammatory cytokine and as a nuclear factor. In this study, we tested the ability of Y. enterocolitica to modulate intracellular IL-1α-dependent IL-8 production in epithelial cells. Nuclear translocation of pre-IL-1α protein and IL-1α-dependent secretion of IL-8 into the culture supernatant were increased during infection with a strain lacking the 70-kDa virulence plasmid compared to the case during infection with the wild type, suggesting that Yersinia outer proteins (Yops) might be involved in modulating intracellular IL-1α signaling. Infection of HeLa cells with a strain lacking the yopP gene resulted in increased nuclear translocation of pre-IL-1α and IL-1α-dependent secretion of IL-8 similar to what is observed with bacteria lacking the virulence plasmid. YopP is a protein acetylase that inhibits mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP kinase)- and NF-κB-dependent signal transduction pathways. Nuclear translocation of pre-IL-1α and IL-1α-dependent secretion of IL-8 in response to Yersinia enterocolitica infection were dependent on extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and p38 MAP kinase signaling but independent of NF-κB. These data suggest that Y. enterocolitica inhibits intracellular pre-IL-1α signaling and subsequent proinflammatory responses through inhibition of MAP kinase pathways.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) constitute highly pathogenic virus that cause severe respiratory diseases in newborn, children, elderly and immuno-compromised individuals. Airway inflammation is a critical regulator of disease outcome in RSV infected hosts. Although “controlled” inflammation is required for virus clearance, aberrant and exaggerated inflammation during RSV infection results in development of inflammatory diseases like pneumonia and bronchiolitis. Interleukin-1β (IL-1β) plays an important role in inflammation by orchestrating the pro-inflammatory response. IL-1β is synthesized as an immature pro-IL-1β form. It is cleaved by activated caspase-1 to yield mature IL-1β that is secreted extracellularly. Activation of caspase-1 is mediated by a multi-protein complex known as the inflammasome. Although RSV infection results in IL-1β release, the mechanism is unknown. Here in, we have characterized the mechanism of IL-1β secretion following RSV infection. Our study revealed that NLRP3/ASC inflammasome activation is crucial for IL-1β production during RSV infection. Further studies illustrated that prior to inflammasome formation; the “first signal” constitutes activation of toll-like receptor-2 (TLR2)/MyD88/NF-κB pathway. TLR2/MyD88/NF-κB signaling is required for pro-IL-1β and NLRP3 gene expression during RSV infection. Following expression of these genes, two “second signals” are essential for triggering inflammasome activation. Intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and potassium (K+) efflux due to stimulation of ATP-sensitive ion channel promote inflammasome activation following RSV infection. Thus, our studies have underscored the requirement of TLR2/MyD88/NF-κB pathway (first signal) and ROS/potassium efflux (second signal) for NLRP3/ASC inflammasome formation, leading to caspase-1 activation and subsequent IL-1β release during RSV infection.
Human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection is associated with airway remodeling and subsequent asthma development. Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF) plays a crucial role in asthma development. The mechanism regulating TGF gene expression during RSV infection is not known. Kruppel-like factor family of transcription factors are critical regulators of cellular/tissue homeostasis. Previous studies have shown that Kruppel-like factor 6 (KLF6) could function as a trans-activator of TGF gene; however, whether KLF members play a role during infection is unknown. In the current study we have evaluated the role of KLF6 during TGF expression in RSV infected cells.
Silencing KLF6 expression by shRNA led to drastic inhibition in TGF production during RSV infection, as assessed by ELISA analysis of medium supernatants. RT-PCR analysis revealed loss of TGF expression in KLF6 silenced cells. Chromatin-immunoprecipitation assay conducted with RSV infected cells showed binding of KLF6 protein to the TGF promoter during RSV infection. We further observed reduced RSV infectivity in KLF6 silenced cells and in cells incubated with TGF neutralizing antibody. In contrast, enhanced RSV infection was noted in cells incubated with purified TGF.
We have identified KLF6 as a key transcription factor required for trans-activation of TGF gene during RSV infection. Moreover, TGF production is required for efficient RSV infection and thus, KLF6 is also required for efficient RSV infection by virtue of KLF6 dependent TGF production during infection.
Krüppel-like factor 6; human respiratory syncytial virus; transforming growth factor-β; gene expression; transcription factor
Oncolytic virotherapy for cancer treatment utilizes viruses for selective infection and death of cancer cells without any adverse effect on normal cells. We previously reported that the human respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a novel oncolytic virus against androgen-independent PC-3 human prostate cancer cells. The present study extends the result to androgen-dependent prostate cancer, and explores the underlying mechanism that triggers RSV-induced oncolysis of prostate cancer cells.
The oncolytic effect of RSV on androgen-sensitive LNCaP human prostate cancer cells and on androgen-independent RM1 murine prostate cancer cells was studied in vitro in culture and in vivo in a xenograft or allograft tumor model. In vitro, cell viability, infectivity and apoptosis were monitored by MTT assay, viral plaque assay and annexin V staining, respectively. In vivo studies involved virus administration to prostate tumors grown in immune compromised nude mice and in syngeneic immune competent C57BL/6J mice. Anti-tumorogenic oncolytic activity was monitored by measuring tumor volume, imaging bioluminescent tumors in live animals and performing histopathological analysis and TUNEL assay with tumors
We show that RSV imposes a potent oncolytic effect on LNCaP prostate cancer cells. RSV infectivity was markedly higher in LNCaP cells compared to the non-tumorigenic RWPE-1 human prostate cells. The enhanced viral burden led to LNCaP cell apoptosis and growth inhibition of LNCaP xenograft tumors in nude mice. A functional host immune response did not interfere with RSV-induced oncolysis, since growth of xenograft tumors in syngeneic C57BL/6J mice from murine RM1 cells was inhibited upon RSV administration. LNCaP cells failed to activate the type-I interferon (IFNα/β)-induced transcription factor STAT-1, which is required for antiviral gene expression, although these cells could produce IFN in response to RSV infection. The essential role of IFN in restricting infection was further borne out by our finding that neutralizing IFN activity resulted in enhanced RSV infection in non-tumorigenic RWPE-1 prostate cells.
We demonstrated that RSV is potentially a useful therapeutic tool in the treatment of androgen-sensitive and androgen-independent prostate cancer. Moreover, impaired IFN-mediated antiviral response is the likely cause of higher viral burden and resulting oncolysis of androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells.
Pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) including Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and RIG like helicase (RLH) receptors are involved in innate immune antiviral responses. Here we show that nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain 2 (NOD2) can also function as a cytoplasmic viral PRR by triggering activation of interferon regulatory factor-3 (IRF3) and production of interferon-β (IFN). Following recognition of viral ssRNA genome, NOD2 utilized the adaptor protein MAVS (mitochondrial antiviral signaling) to activate IRF3. NOD2-deficient mice failed to produce IFN efficiently and exhibited enhanced susceptibility to virus-induced pathogenesis. Thus, the function of NOD2 as a viral PRR highlights the important role of NOD2 in host antiviral defense mechanisms.
Human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPIV3) is a respiratory paramyxovirus that infects lung epithelial cells to cause high morbidity among infants and children. To date, no effective vaccine or antiviral therapy exists for HPIV3 and therefore, it is important to study innate immune antiviral response induced by this virus in infected cells. Type-I interferons (IFN, interferon-α/β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα activated by NFκB) are potent antiviral cytokines that play an important role during innate immune antiviral response. A wide-spectrum of viruses utilizes pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) like toll-like receptors (TLRs) and RLH (RIG like helicases) receptors such as RIGI (retinoic acid inducible gene -I) and Mda5 to induce innate antiviral response. Previously it was shown that both TNFα and IFNβ are produced from HPIV3 infected cells. However, the mechanism by which infected cells activated innate response following HPIV3 infection was not known. In the current study, we demonstrated that RIGI serves as a PRR in HPIV3 infected cells to induce innate antiviral response by expressing IFNβ (via activation of interferon regulatory factor-3 or IRF3) and TNFα (via activation of NF-κB).
Phospholipid scramblase 1 (PLSCR1) is an interferon (IFN)- and growth factor-inducible, calcium-binding protein that either inserts into the plasma membrane or binds DNA in the nucleus depending on its state of palmyitoylation. In certain hematopoietic cells, PLSCR1 is required for normal maturation and terminal differentiation from progenitor cells as regulated by select growth factors, where it promotes recruitment and activation of Src kinases. PLSCR1 is a substrate of Src (and Abl) kinases, and transcription of the PLSCR1 gene is regulated by the same growth factor receptor pathways in which PLSCR1 potentiates afferent signaling. The marked transcriptional upregulation of PLSCR1 by IFNs led us to explore whether PLSCR1 plays an analogous role in cellular responses to IFN, with specific focus on antiviral activities. Accordingly, human cells in which PLSCR1 expression was decreased with short interfering RNA were rendered relatively insensitive to the antiviral activity of IFNs, resulting in higher titers of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and encephalomyocarditis virus. Similarly, VSV replicated to higher titers in mouse PLSCR1−/− embryonic fibroblasts than in identical cells transduced to express PLSCR1. PLSCR1 inhibited accumulation of primary VSV transcripts, similar to the effects of IFN against VSV. The antiviral effect of PLSCR1 correlated with increased expression of a subset of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), including ISG15, ISG54, p56, and guanylate binding proteins. Our results suggest that PLSCR1, which is itself an ISG-encoded protein, provides a mechanism for amplifying and enhancing the IFN response through increased expression of a select subset of potent antiviral genes.
Human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPIV-3) is an airborne pathogen that infects human lung epithelial cells from the apical (luminal) plasma membrane domain. In the present study, we have identified cell surface-expressed nucleolin as a cellular cofactor required for the efficient cellular entry of HPIV-3 into human lung epithelial A549 cells. Nucleolin was enriched on the apical cell surface domain of A549 cells, and HPIV-3 interacted with nucleolin during entry. The importance of nucleolin during HPIV-3 replication was borne out by the observation that HPIV-3 replication was significantly inhibited following (i) pretreatment of cells with antinucleolin antibodies and (ii) preincubation of HPIV-3 with purified nucleolin prior to its addition to the cells. Moreover, HPIV-3 cellular internalization and attachment assays performed in the presence of antinucleolin antibodies and purified nucleolin revealed the requirement of nucleolin during HPIV-3 internalization but not during attachment. Thus, these results suggest that nucleolin expressed on the surfaces of human lung epithelial A549 cells plays an important role during HPIV-3 cellular entry.
Human parainfluenza virus type 3 (HPIV-3) is an airborne pathogen that infects the epithelial cells of the respiratory tract. In the present study we investigated the interaction of HPIV-3 with the type II alveolar human lung polarized epithelial A549 cells. Although HPIV-3 entry and budding were bidirectional from both the apical and the basolateral domains, HPIV-3 exhibited preferential entry and release from the apical pole. While disruption of the cellular actin microfilament and microtubule by cytochalasin D and nocodazole, respectively, had no effect on virus entry, disruption of the microtubule but not the microfilament inhibited HPIV-3 release.