David M. Ojcius: 0000-0003-1461-4495
Infection and Immunity
The cytolethal distending toxin (Cdt) is produced from a number of bacteria capable of causing infection and inflammatory disease. Our previous studies with Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans Cdt demonstrate not only that the active toxin subunit functions as a phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-triphosphate (PIP3) phosphatase but also that macrophages exposed to the toxin were stimulated to produce proinflammatory cytokines. We now demonstrate that the Cdt-induced proinflammatory response involves the activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. Specific inhibitors and short hairpin RNA (shRNA) were employed to demonstrate requirements for NLRP3 and ASC as well as caspase-1. Furthermore, Cdt-mediated inflammasome activation is dependent upon upstream signals, including reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and Cdt-induced increases in extracellular ATP levels. Increases in extracellular ATP levels contribute to the activation of the P2X7 purinergic receptor, leading to K+ efflux. The relationship between the abilities of the active toxin subunit CdtB to function as a lipid phosphatase, activate the NLRP3 inflammasome, and induce a proinflammatory cytokine response is discussed. These studies provide new insight into the virulence potential of Cdt in mediating the pathogenesis of disease caused by Cdt-producing organisms such as Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans.
Shenker, B. J.,
Ojcius, D. M.,
Walker, L. P.,
Scuron, M. D.,
Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans cytolethal distending toxin activates the NLRP3 inflammasome in human macrophages leading to the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
Infection and Immunity, 83(4), 1487–1496.