Caspase-1 Engagement and TLR-Induced c-FLIP Expression Suppress ASC/Caspase-8-Dependent Apoptosis by Inflammasome Sensors NLRP1b and NLRC4

Nina Van Opdenbosch, Hanne Van Gorp, Maarten Verdonckt, Pedro H V Saavedra, Nathalia M de Vasconcelos, Amanda Gonçalves, Lieselotte Vande Walle, Dieter Demon, Magdalena Matusiak, Filip Van Hauwermeiren, Jinke D'Hont, Tino Hochepied, Stefan Krautwald, Thirumala-Devi Kanneganti, Mohamed Lamkanfi
Cell Reports 2017 December 19, 21 (12): 3427-3444
The caspase activation and recruitment domain (CARD)-based inflammasome sensors NLRP1b and NLRC4 induce caspase-1-dependent pyroptosis independent of the inflammasome adaptor ASC. Here, we show that NLRP1b and NLRC4 trigger caspase-8-mediated apoptosis as an alternative cell death program in caspase-1-/- macrophages and intestinal epithelial organoids (IECs). The caspase-8 adaptor FADD was recruited to ASC specks, which served as cytosolic platforms for caspase-8 activation and NLRP1b/NLRC4-induced apoptosis. We further found that caspase-1 protease activity dominated over scaffolding functions in suppressing caspase-8 activation and induction of apoptosis of macrophages and IECs. Moreover, TLR-induced c-FLIP expression inhibited caspase-8-mediated apoptosis downstream of ASC speck assembly, but did not affect pyroptosis induction by NLRP1b and NLRC4. Moreover, unlike during pyroptosis, NLRP1b- and NLRC4-elicited apoptosis retained alarmins and the inflammasome-matured cytokines interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and IL-18 intracellularly. This work identifies critical mechanisms regulating apoptosis induction by the inflammasome sensors NLRP1b and NLRC4 and suggests converting pyroptosis into apoptosis as a paradigm for suppressing inflammation.

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