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In Macrophages, Caspase-1 Activation by SopE and the Type III Secretion System-1 of S. Typhimurium Can Proceed in the Absence of Flagellin

Hoffmann C, Galle M, Dilling S, Kppeli R, Mller AJ, Songhet P, Beyaert R, Hardt WD

The innate immune system is of vital importance for protection against infectious pathogens. Inflammasome mediated caspase-1 activation and subsequent release of pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-1beta and IL-18 is an important arm of the innate immune system. Salmonella enterica subspecies 1 serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium, SL1344) is an enteropathogenic bacterium causing diarrheal diseases. Different reports have shown that in macrophages, S. Typhimurium may activate caspase-1 by at least three different types of stimuli: flagellin, the type III secretion system 1 (T1) and the T1 effector protein SopE. However, the relative importance and interdependence of the different factors in caspase-1 activation is still a matter of debate. Here, we have analyzed their relative contributions to caspase-1 activation in LPS-pretreated RAW264.7 macrophages. Using flagellar mutants (fliGHI, flgK) and centrifugation to mediate pathogen-host cell contact, we show that flagellins account for a small part of the caspase-1 activation in RAW264.7 cells. In addition, functional flagella are of key importance for motility and host cell attachment which is a prerequisite for mediating caspase-1 activation via these three stimuli. Using site directed mutants lacking several T1 effector proteins and flagellin expression, we found that SopE elicits caspase-1 activation even when flagellins are absent. In contrast, disruption of essential genes of the T1 protein injection system (invG, sipB) completely abolished caspase-1 activation. However, a robust level of caspase-1 activation is retained by the T1 system (or unidentified T1 effectors) in the absence of flagellin and SopE. T1-mediated inflammasome activation is in line with recent work by others and suggests that the T1 system itself may represent the basic caspase-1 activating stimulus in RAW264.7 macrophages which is further enhanced independently by SopE and/or flagellin.

  • PubMed ID: 20814576