Inflammasome activation in dendritic cells

Interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 are essential elements of the innate immune response. The maturation of pro-form to biologically active cytokine is accomplished by caspase-1-mediated proteolysis involving the inflammasome. Nod-like receptors (NLRs) recognize specific non-self viral motifs, viral replication products, viral protein expression or the ion-channel activity of viruses to activate caspase-1 maturing inflammasomes. Interleukin-1β and IL-18 contribute to eliminate invading virus and prevent the establishment of persistent infection by recruiting immune cells to the site and activating the adaptive immune response. NLRP3 (an NLR) activation by Influenza in human dendritic cell (DC) subsets and the role of NLRP3 in susceptibility to infection remains to be described. Melissa’s data indicates human DCs contain functional inflammasome machinery and secrete the inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 in an inflammasome-dependent and subset specific manner and that NLRP3 is integral and significant to this secretion. Melissa will describe how discrete human DC subsets utilize inflammasomes differentially in response to viral infection.

Melissa Fernandez, Graduate Student

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