Posts Tagged ‘gasdermin’

Inflammasome-activated gasdermin D causes pyroptosis by forming membrane pores

Inflammatory caspases (caspases 1, 4, 5 and 11) are activated in response to microbial infection and danger signals. When activated, they cleave mouse and human gasdermin D (GSDMD) after Asp276 and Asp275, respectively, to generate an N-terminal cleavage product (GSDMD-NT) that triggers inflammatory death (pyroptosis) and release of inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1β. Cleavage removes the C-terminal fragment (GSDMD-CT), which is thought to fold back on GSDMD-NT to inhibit its activation. However, how GSDMD-NT causes cell death is unknown. Here we show that GSDMD-NT oligomerizes in membranes to form pores that are visible by electron microscopy. GSDMD-NT binds to phosphatidylinositol phosphates and phosphatidylserine (restricted to the cell membrane inner leaflet) and cardiolipin (present in the inner and outer leaflets of bacterial membranes). Mutation of four evolutionarily conserved basic residues blocks GSDMD-NT oligomerization, membrane binding, pore formation and pyroptosis. Because of its lipid-binding preferences, GSDMD-NT kills from within the cell, but does not harm neighbouring mammalian cells when it is released during pyroptosis. GSDMD-NT also kills cell-free bacteria in vitro and may have a direct bactericidal effect within the cytosol of host cells, but the importance of direct bacterial killing in controlling in vivo infection remains to be determined.

Pore-forming activity and structural autoinhibition of the gasdermin family

Inflammatory caspases cleave the gasdermin D (GSDMD) protein to trigger pyroptosis, a lytic form of cell death that is crucial for immune defences and diseases. GSDMD contains a functionally important gasdermin-N domain that is shared in the gasdermin family. The functional mechanism of action of gasdermin proteins is unknown. Here we show that the gasdermin-N domains of the gasdermin proteins GSDMD, GSDMA3 and GSDMA can bind membrane lipids, phosphoinositides and cardiolipin, and exhibit membrane-disrupting cytotoxicity in mammalian cells and artificially transformed bacteria. Gasdermin-N moved to the plasma membrane during pyroptosis. Purified gasdermin-N efficiently lysed phosphoinositide/cardiolipin-containing liposomes and formed pores on membranes made of artificial or natural phospholipid mixtures. Most gasdermin pores had an inner diameter of 10–14 nm and contained 16 symmetric protomers. The crystal structure of GSDMA3 showed an autoinhibited two-domain architecture that is conserved in the gasdermin family. Structure-guided mutagenesis demonstrated that the liposome-leakage and pore-forming activities of the gasdermin-N domain are required for pyroptosis. These findings reveal the mechanism for pyroptosis and provide insights into the roles of the gasdermin family in necrosis, immunity and diseases.

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