TLR agonists stimulate Nlrp3-dependent IL-1β production independently of the purinergic P2X7 receptor in dendritic cells and in vivo

Yuan He, Luigi Franchi, Gabriel Núñez
Journal of Immunology 2013 January 1, 190 (1): 334-9
On the basis of studies in mouse macrophages, activation of the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-like receptor (NLR) pyrin domain-containing 3 (Nlrp3) inflammasome is thought to require two signals. The first signal is provided by TLR stimulation and triggers the synthesis of the IL-1β precursor and Nlrp3. The second signal can be mediated by stimulation of the purinergic receptor P2X ligand-gated ion channel 7 (P2X7) by millimolar concentrations of ATP. However, these high concentrations of ATP are not found normally in the in vivo extracellular milieu, raising concern about the physiological relevance of the ATP-P2X7 pathway of inflammasome activation. In this article, we show that unlike macrophages, murine bone marrow-derived and splenic dendritic cells (DCs) can secrete substantial amounts of mature IL-1β upon stimulation with TLR ligands in the absence of ATP stimulation. The differential ability of DCs to release IL-1β and activate caspase-1 was associated with increased expression of Nlrp3 under steady-state conditions and of pro-IL-1β and Nlrp3 after stimulation with TLR agonists. IL-1β secretion from stimulated DCs was largely dependent on the Nlrp3 inflammasome, but independent of P2X7 and unaffected by incubation with apyrase. More importantly, i.p. administration of LPS induced IL-1β production in serum, which was abrogated in Nlrp3-null mice but was unaffected in P2X7-deficient mice. These results demonstrate differential regulation of the Nlrp3 inflammasome in macrophages and DCs. Furthermore, they challenge the idea that the ATP-P2X7 axis is critical for TLR-induced IL-1β production via the Nlrp3 inflammasome in vivo.

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