TNFAIP3-DEPTOR complex regulates inflammasome secretion through autophagy in ankylosing spondylitis monocytes

Autophagy. 2018;14(9):1629-1643. doi: 10.1080/15548627.2018.1458804. Epub 2018 Sep 1.


Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease with severe inflammatory symptoms in the axial skeleton. The cause of ankylosing spondylitis is unknown. TNFAIP3, also named A20, uses ubiquitin-related functions to regulate immune activation, deficiency of which is highly related to autoimmune disease. However, the role of TNFAIP3 in human AS has not been reported. Our objective was to study the role and mechanism of TNFAIP3 in ankylosing spondylitis. TNFAIP3 expression on different types of immunocytes from AS peripheral blood was measured by flow cytometry. In vitro, monocytes were transfected with a TNFAIP3 shRNA lentivirus, and IL6 and IL1B activation was tested using real-time PCR and ELISA. The novel interaction complex TNFAIP3-DEPTOR was determined through GST pull-down, yeast two-hybrid system, confocal microscopy, and co-immunoprecipitation. Transmission electron microscopy, the RFP-GFP-LC3 adenovirus, and LC3 expression were used for autophagy detection. Here, we show that TNFAIP3 expression in AS peripheral blood non-classical monocytes was decreased. In normal monocytes, TNFAIP3 induced autophagy, which restricted inflammasome activation to the early stage of LPS stimulation. Zinc-finger domains of TNFAIP3 were able to interact and stabilize DEPTOR. TNFAIP3 and DEPTOR together rapidly promoted autophagy after LPS treatment to prevent NLRP3 inflammasome formation. Finally, TNFAIP3 and DEPTOR deficiency in AS non-classical monocytes facilitated inflammasome activation. Our study indicates that TNFAIP3-DEPTOR complex-induced early-onset autophagy is vital for immune inhibition in autoimmune disease.

Keywords: Ankylosing spondylitis; DEPTOR; NLRP3; TNFAIP3; autophagy; inflammasome; monocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autophagy*
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism*
  • Inflammasomes / ultrastructure
  • Interleukin-1beta / blood
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Models, Biological
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Monocytes / ultrastructure
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Protein Stability / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / blood
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / metabolism*
  • Spondylitis, Ankylosing / pathology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha-Induced Protein 3 / metabolism*


  • Inflammasomes
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • NF-kappa B
  • DEPTOR protein, human
  • TNFAIP3 protein, human
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha-Induced Protein 3