Inhwa Hwang ; Sangjun Park ; Je-Wook Yu ; Eun-Hee Kim ; Sujeong Hong
Immune NetWork, Vol.12(6) : 284~290, 2012
Innate immune cells sense and respond to the cytoplasmic infection of bacterial pathogens through NLRP3, NLRC4 or AIM2 inflammasome depending on the unique molecular pattern of invading pathogens. The infection of flagellin- or type III secretion system (T3SS)-containing Gram-negative bacteria such as Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. typhimurium) or Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P. aeruginosa) triggers NLRC4-dependent caspase-1 activation leading to the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1-beta (IL-1β) and IL-18. Previous studies have shown that apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) is also required for Salmonella-induced caspase-1 activation, but it is still unclear how ASC contributes to the activation of NLRC4 inflammasome in response to S. typhimurium infection. In this study, we demonstrate that S. typhimurium triggers the formation of ASC oligomer in a potassium depletion-independent manner as determined by in vitro crosslinking and in situ fluorescence imaging. Remarkably, inhibition of potassium efflux failed to block Salmonella-promoted caspase-1 activation and macrophage cell death. These results collectively suggest that ASC is substantially oligomerized to facilitate the activation of caspase-1 in response to S. typhimurium infection. Contrary to NLRP3 inflammasome, intracellular potassium depletion is not critical for NLRC4 inflammasome signaling by S. typhimurium.