Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Host Microbe. 2011 May 19;9(5):363-75. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2011.04.008.

IFI16 acts as a nuclear pathogen sensor to induce the inflammasome in response to Kaposi Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus infection.

Author information

H.M. Bligh Cancer Research Laboratories, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Chicago Medical School, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, 3333 Green Bay Road, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA.


Inflammasomes are cytoplasmic sensors of foreign molecules, including pathogens, and function to induce caspase-1 activation and IL-1β cytokine maturation. Whether such a mechanism exists in the nucleus and is effective against nuclear replicating pathogens is unknown. Nuclear replicating herpesvirus KSHV is associated with Kaposi Sarcoma, an angioproliferative tumor characterized by an inflammatory microenvironment including IL-1β. We demonstrate that during KSHV infection of endothelial cells, interferon gamma-inducible protein 16 (IFI16) interacts with the adaptor molecule ASC and procaspase-1 to form a functional inflammasome. This complex was initially detected in the nucleus and subsequently in the perinuclear area. KSHV gene expression and/or latent KSHV genome is required for inflammasome activation and IFI16 colocalizes with the KSHV genome in the infected cell nucleus. Caspase-1 activation by KSHV was reduced by IFI16 and ASC silencing. Our studies reveal IFI16 as a nuclear pathogen sensor and demonstrate that the inflammasome also functions in the nucleus.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center