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Immuno-detection of Immature and Bioactive Forms of the Inflammatory Cytokine IL-18.

Gastric cancer (GC) is the third most lethal cancer worldwide, and like many other types of cancers, it is associated with precursory chronic inflammatory responses. In the context of many inflammation-associated cancers such as GC, activation of the innate immune response by infectious microbes and/or host-derived molecules is often characterized by production of the cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18, which can often have divergent and opposing (i.e., pro or anti) roles in inflammation and oncogenesis. The processing of these mature bioactive cytokines from their inactive precursor polypeptides is dependent upon the enzyme Caspase-1, which is part of multiprotein complexes called "inflammasomes." Considering the recent mounting evidence for the role of IL-18 in the pathogenesis of GC, here, we describe a Western blotting technique used on genetic mouse models for GC to detect and characterize both pro-Il-18 and mature IL-18 proteins.

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Cellular differentiation of non-transformed intestinal epithelial cells is regulated by Lactobacillus rhamnosus and L. casei strains.

The aim of this study was to characterize an in vitro modulating effect of three commensal Lactobacillus strains on cellular differentiation of non-transformed crypt-like rat small intestinal cell line IEC-18. IEC-18 was grown on extracellular matrix (ECM), with or without presence of Lactobacillus strains. Gene expression of IEC-18 bacterial detection system - such as Toll-like receptors TLR-2, TLR-4, signal adapter MyD88, cytoplasmic NOD2 receptor, inflammatory cytokines IL-18, IL-1beta, chemokine IL-8 and enzyme caspase-1 - was evaluated using real-time PCR. Expression and localization of TLR-2, TLR-4, IL-18 and caspase-1 proteins was demonstrated by Western blotting and immunofluorescent staining. Secretion of IL-18 to apical and basolateral surfaces was assayed by ELISA. Our results suggested that L. casei LOCK0919 accelerated differentiation of IEC-18 by stimulating TLR-2, TLR-4, MyD88, IL-18, caspase-1 mRNAs and proteins. L. casei LOCK0919 increased expression and transfer of villin and beta-catenin from cytoplasm to cell membrane. Presence of L. rhamnosus LOCK0900 resulted in detachment of IEC-18 layer from extracellular matrix leading to induction of IL-1beta, of TLR-2 and IL-8 mRNAs and stimulation of MyD88, caspase-1 and cytosolic receptor NOD2 mRNAs. L. rhamnosus LOCK0908 was not recognized by TLR-2 or TLR-4 receptors. Lactobacilli-IEC-18 crosstalk enhanced immune and barrier mucosal functions.

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Broad detection of bacterial type III secretion system and flagellin proteins by the human NAIP/NLRC4 inflammasome.

Inflammasomes are cytosolic multiprotein complexes that initiate host defense against bacterial pathogens by activating caspase-1-dependent cytokine secretion and cell death. In mice, specific nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat-containing family, apoptosis inhibitory proteins (NAIPs) activate the nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat-containing family, CARD domain-containing protein 4 (NLRC4) inflammasome upon sensing components of the type III secretion system (T3SS) and flagellar apparatus. NAIP1 recognizes the T3SS needle protein, NAIP2 recognizes the T3SS inner rod protein, and NAIP5 and NAIP6 recognize flagellin. In contrast, humans encode a single functional NAIP, raising the question of whether human NAIP senses one or multiple bacterial ligands. Previous studies found that human NAIP detects both flagellin and the T3SS needle protein and suggested that the ability to detect both ligands was achieved by multiple isoforms encoded by the single human NAIP gene. Here, we show that human NAIP also senses the Salmonella Typhimurium T3SS inner rod protein PrgJ and that T3SS inner rod proteins from multiple bacterial species are also detected. Furthermore, we show that a single human NAIP isoform is capable of sensing the T3SS inner rod, needle, and flagellin. Our findings indicate that, in contrast to murine NAIPs, promiscuous recognition of multiple bacterial ligands is conferred by a single human NAIP.

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Simultaneous Detection of Cellular Viability and Interleukin-1β Secretion from Single Cells by ELISpot.

Cell death results in the breakdown of the plasma membrane, which can cause the release of cytosolic proteins. During caspase-1-mediated cell death, termed pyroptosis, pro-inflammatory mediators that lack canonical secretory signal sequences, such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β), are released into the extracellular environment. To define whether cell death is required for the release of IL-1β, or if IL-1β can be actively secreted from viable cells, we have developed a modified IL-1β Enzyme-Linked ImmunoSpot (ELISpot) assay. This assay simultaneously detects cellular viability and IL-1β release at the single-cell level, and is therefore useful to examine how cell death influences IL-1β secretion under different experimental conditions. Cells expressing a surrogate viability marker, such as GFP, are plated onto cellulose filter plates coated with an IL-1β capture antibody. This antibody immobilizes IL-1β as it is released from cells, allowing detection of distinct IL-1β "spots." Both GFP positive cells and IL-1β spots are detected and quantified using an AID ELISpot Reader, and the captured images are overlaid. Therefore, cell viability and IL-1β release from individual cells can be monitored visually. We have recently used this method to document how individual fibroblasts expressing activated caspase-1 can secrete IL-1β in the absence of cell death. Adaptation of this assay to other experimental conditions may help to define the circumstances where cell death influences IL-1β release and IL-1β-driven inflammatory responses.

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Checks and Balances between Autophagy and Inflammasomes during Infection.

Autophagy and inflammasome complex assembly are physiological processes that control homeostasis, inflammation, and immunity. Autophagy is a ubiquitous pathway that degrades cytosolic macromolecules or organelles, as well as intracellular pathogens. Inflammasomes are multi-protein complexes that assemble in the cytosol of cells upon detection of pathogen- or danger-associated molecular patterns. A critical outcome of inflammasome assembly is the activation of the cysteine protease caspase-1, which activates the pro-inflammatory cytokine precursors pro-IL-1β and pro-IL-18. Studies on chronic inflammatory diseases, heart diseases, Alzheimer's disease, and multiple sclerosis revealed that autophagy and inflammasomes intersect and regulate each other. In the context of infectious diseases, however, less is known about the interplay between autophagy and inflammasome assembly, although it is becoming evident that pathogens have evolved multiple strategies to inhibit and/or subvert these pathways and to take advantage of their intricate crosstalk. An improved appreciation of these pathways and their subversion by diverse pathogens is expected to help in the design of anti-infective therapeutic interventions.

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The role of the NLRP3 inflammasome in regulation of antiviral responses to influenza A virus infection.

The innate immune system provides the host with both a dynamic barrier to prevent infection and a means to which rapid anti-microbial responses can be mounted. The inflammasome pathway is a critical host early response mechanism that enables detection of pathogens and initiates production of inflammatory cytokines, inducing recruitment of effector cells to the site of infection. The complete mechanism of inflammasome activation requires two signals: an initial priming step upon detection of pathogen, followed by activation of intracellular pattern recognition receptors critical to the formation of the inflammasome complex. The inflammasome complex is made of intracellular multiprotein oligomers which includes a sensor protein such as the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD) like receptor proteins (NLRP), and an adapter protein, ASC, which critically activates pro-caspase-1. The mature caspase-1 then proteolytically cleaves cytosolic pro-IL-1β and pro-IL-18, which are then secreted as inflammatory cytokines that activate the inflammatory arm of the immune response to infection. Active caspase-1 also results in pyroptosis, which is a form of cell death triggered by inflammation. The induction and activation of IL-1β and IL-18 are considered critical signatures for inflammasome activation. With focus upon influenza A virus infection, this review will address present knowledge on the mechanisms of inflammasome complex activation, particularly how the viral components modulate activation of the cytosolic NOD-like receptor protein-3 (NLRP3)-dependent inflammasome complex. We also discuss potential therapeutic strategies that target the inflammasome to ameliorate illness, as well as novel methods of vaccination that target inflammasome stimulation with the aim to increase efficacy.

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Detection of ASC Oligomerization by Western Blotting.

The apoptosis-associated speck-like protein with a caspase-recruitment domain (ASC) adaptor protein bridges inflammasome sensors and caspase-1. Upon inflammasome activation, ASC nucleates in a prion-like manner into a large and single platform responsible for the recruitment and the activation of caspase-1. Active caspase-1 will in turn promote the proteolytic maturation of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β. ASC oligomerization is a direct evidence for inflammasome activation and its detection allows a read-out independent of caspase-1 and IL-1β. This protocol describes how to detect the oligomerization of ASC by Western blot.

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Fungal β-Glucan Activates the NLRP3 Inflammasome in Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells Through ROS Production.

The nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome has developed as an important bridge between innate immune and infection recently, and has the ability to drive proteolytic procaspase-1 into bioactive caspase-1, then responsible for proteolytic processing of inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18. Fungal β-glucan, a major component of fungal cell wall, triggers inflammatory response in multiple immune cells, but rarely described in epithelial cells. Also, the relationship between fungal β-glucan and NLRP3 inflammasome is not clear yet. In this study, we first identified that curdlan, a large particulate β-glucan, could activate the NLRP3 inflammasome in LPS-primed human bronchial epithelial cells (HBECs). RT-PCR and Western Blot showed that curdlan upregulate the mRNA as well as intracellular protein expression of NLRP3 and IL-1β in HBECs, along with the activity of caspase-1, and the level of mature IL-1β in cell supernatants was higher by ELISA detection. Further studies demonstrated that the activation of NLRP3 inflammasome could be attenuated by NAC, an inhibitor of ROS. Thus, it indicated curdlan activate NLRP3 inflammasome through a pathway requiring ROS production in HBECs. These findings may provide a new therapeutic target, NLRP3 inflammasome, in invasive pulmonary fungal infections.

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The DNA Inflammasome in Human Myeloid Cells Is Initiated by a STING-Cell Death Program Upstream of NLRP3.

Detection of cytosolic DNA constitutes a central event in the context of numerous infectious and sterile inflammatory conditions. Recent studies have uncovered a bipartite mode of cytosolic DNA recognition, in which the cGAS-STING axis triggers antiviral immunity, whereas AIM2 triggers inflammasome activation. Here, we show that AIM2 is dispensable for DNA-mediated inflammasome activation in human myeloid cells. Instead, detection of cytosolic DNA by the cGAS-STING axis induces a cell death program initiating potassium efflux upstream of NLRP3. Forward genetics identified regulators of lysosomal trafficking to modulate this cell death program, and subsequent studies revealed that activated STING traffics to the lysosome, where it triggers membrane permeabilization and thus lysosomal cell death (LCD). Importantly, the cGAS-STING-NLRP3 pathway constitutes the default inflammasome response during viral and bacterial infections in human myeloid cells. We conclude that targeting the cGAS-STING-LCD-NLRP3 pathway will ameliorate pathology in inflammatory conditions that are associated with cytosolic DNA sensing.

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NLRX1 modulates differentially NLRP3 inflammasome activation and NF-κB signaling during Fusobacterium nucleatum infection.

NOD-like receptors (NLRs) play a large role in regulation of host innate immunity, yet their role in periodontitis remains to be defined. NLRX1, a member of the NLR family that localizes to mitochondria, enhances mitochondrial ROS (mROS) generation. mROS can activate the NLRP3 inflammasome, yet the role of NLRX1 in NLRP3 inflammasome activation has not been examined. In this study, we revealed the mechanism by which NLRX1 positively regulates ATP-induced NLRP3 inflammasome activation through mROS in gingival epithelial cells (GECs). We found that depletion of NLRX1 by shRNA attenuated ATP-induced mROS generation and redistribution of the NLRP3 inflammasome adaptor protein, ASC. Furthermore, depletion of NLRX1 inhibited Fusobacterium nucleatum infection-activated caspase-1, suggesting that it also inhibits the NLRP3 inflammasome. Conversely, NLRX1 also acted as a negative regulator of NF-κB signaling and IL-8 expression. Thus, NLRX1 stimulates detection of the pathogen F. nucleatum via the inflammasome, while dampening cytokine production. We expect that commensals should not activate the inflammasome, and NLRX1 should decrease their ability to stimulate expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-8. Therefore, NLRX1 may act as a potential switch with regards to anti-microbial responses in healthy or diseased states in the oral cavity.

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