Caspase-8, an executioner enzyme in the death receptor pathway, was shown to initiate apoptosis and suppress necroptosis. In this study, we identify a novel, cell death-independent role for caspase-8 in dendritic cells (DCs): DC-specific expression of caspase-8 prevents the onset of systemic autoimmunity. Failure to express caspase-8 has no effect on the lifespan of DCs but instead leads to an enhanced intrinsic activation and, subsequently, more mature and autoreactive lymphocytes. Uncontrolled TLR activation in a RIPK1-dependent manner is responsible for the enhanced functionality of caspase-8-deficient DCs, because deletion of the TLR-signaling mediator, MyD88, ameliorates systemic autoimmunity induced by caspase-8 deficiency. Taken together, these data demonstrate that caspase-8 functions in a cell type-specific manner and acts uniquely in DCs to maintain tolerance.
Copyright © 2014 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.