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Nature. 2016 Jul 7;535(7610):153-8. doi: 10.1038/nature18629.

Inflammasome-activated gasdermin D causes pyroptosis by forming membrane pores.

Author information

  • 1Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
  • 3Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.
  • 4Department of Dermatology and Harvard Skin Disease Research Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
27383986
DOI:
10.1038/nature18629
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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