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Nat Commun. 2015 Feb 4;6:6201. doi: 10.1038/ncomms7201.

Mitochondrial Ca2+-dependent NLRP3 activation exacerbates the Pseudomonas aeruginosa-driven inflammatory response in cystic fibrosis.

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Department of Morphology, Surgery and Experimental Medicine, Section of Pathology, Oncology and Experimental Biology, Laboratory for Technologies of Advanced Therapies (LTTA), University of Ferrara, Ferrara 44121, Italy.
Laboratory of Molecular Pathology, Department of Pathology and Diagnostics, University Hospital of Verona, Verona 37126, Italy.


The common pathological manifestation of cystic fibrosis (CF) is associated with an excessive lung inflammatory response characterized by interleukin-1β accumulation. CF airway epithelial cells show an exacerbated pro-inflammatory response to Pseudomonas aeruginosa; however, it is unclear whether this heightened inflammatory response is intrinsic to cells lacking CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR). Here we demonstrate that the degree and quality of the inflammatory response in CF are supported by P. aeruginosa-dependent mitochondrial perturbation, in which flagellin is the inducer and mitochondrial Ca(2+) uniporter (MCU) is a signal-integrating organelle member for NLRP3 activation and IL-1β and IL-18 processing. Our work elucidates the regulation of the NLRP3 inflammasome by mitochondrial Ca(2+) in the P. aeruginosa-dependent inflammatory response and deepens our understanding of the significance of mitochondria in the Ca(2+)-dependent control of inflammation.

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