The NAIP/NLRC4 inflammasome is a cytosolic sensor of bacteria that activates caspase-1 and initiates potent immune responses. Structural, biochemical, and genetic data demonstrate that NAIP proteins are receptors for bacterial ligands, while NLRC4 is a downstream adaptor that multimerizes with NAIPs to form an inflammasome. NLRC4 has also been proposed to suppress tumor growth, though the underlying mechanism is unknown. Further, NLRC4 is phosphorylated on serine 533, which was suggested to be critical for its function. In the absence of S533 phosphorylation, it was proposed that another inflammasome protein, NLRP3, can induce NLRC4 activation. We generated a new Nlrc4-deficient mouse line and mice with S533D phosphomimetic or S533A nonphosphorylatable NLRC4. Using these models in vivo and in vitro, we fail to observe a requirement for phosphorylation in NLRC4 inflammasome function. Furthermore, we find no role for NLRP3 in NLRC4 function, or for NLRC4 in a model of melanoma. These results clarify our understanding of the mechanism and biological functions of NAIP/NLRC4 activation.
© 2020 Tenthorey et al.