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PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30379. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030379. Epub 2012 Jan 20.

Rac1 regulates the NLRP3 inflammasome which mediates IL-1beta production in Chlamydophila pneumoniae infected human mononuclear cells.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Infectious Diseases and Pulmonary Medicine, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Chlamydophila pneumoniae causes acute respiratory tract infections and has been associated with development of asthma and atherosclerosis. The production of IL-1β, a key mediator of acute and chronic inflammation, is regulated on a transcriptional level and additionally on a posttranslational level by inflammasomes. In the present study we show that C. pneumoniae-infected human mononuclear cells produce IL-1β protein depending on an inflammasome consisting of NLRP3, the adapter protein ASC and caspase-1. We further found that the small GTPase Rac1 is activated in C. pneumoniae-infected cells. Importantly, studies with specific inhibitors as well as siRNA show that Rac1 regulates inflammasome activation in C. pneumoniae-infected cells. In conclusion, C. pneumoniae infection of mononuclear cells stimulates IL-1β production dependent on a NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated processing of proIL-1β which is controlled by Rac1.

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