Rapid lamellipodial responses by neighbor cells drive epithelial sealing in response to pyroptotic cell death

Cell Rep. 2022 Feb 1;38(5):110316. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2022.110316.


Cell injury poses a substantial challenge for epithelia homeostasis. Several cellular processes preserve epithelial barriers in response to apoptosis, but less is known about other forms of cell death, such as pyroptosis. Here we use an inducible caspase-1 system to analyze how colon epithelial monolayers respond to pyroptosis. We confirm that sporadic pyroptotic cells are physically eliminated from confluent monolayers by apical extrusion. This is accompanied by a transient defect in barrier function at the site of the pyroptotic cells. By visualizing cell shape changes and traction patterns in combination with cytoskeletal inhibitors, we show that rapid lamellipodial responses in the neighbor cells are responsible for correcting the leakage and resealing the barrier. Cell contractility is not required for this resealing response, in contrast to the response to apoptosis. Therefore, pyroptosis elicits a distinct homeostatic response from the epithelium that is driven by the stimulation of lamellipodia in neighbor cells.

Keywords: actin cytoskeleton; caspase-1; cell extrusion; epithelia homeostasis; lamellipodia; pyroptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Death / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism*
  • Epithelium / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Pseudopodia / metabolism
  • Pyroptosis / physiology*


  • Inflammasomes