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Nature. 1997 Apr 10;386(6625):619-23.

Caspase-1 processes IFN-gamma-inducing factor and regulates LPS-induced IFN-gamma production.

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BASF Bioresearch Corporation, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605-4314, USA.


Interferon-gamma-inducing factor (IGIF, interleukin-18) is a recently described cytokine that shares structural features with the interleukin-1 (IL-1) family of proteins and functional properties with IL-12. Like IL-12, IGIF is a potent inducer of interferon (IFN)-gamma from T cells and natural killer cells. IGIF is synthesized as a biologically inactive precursor molecule (proIGIF). The cellular production of IL-1beta, a cytokine implicated in a variety of inflammatory diseases, requires cleavage of its precursor (proIL-1beta) at an Asp-X site by interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme (ICE, recently termed caspase-1). The Asp-X sequence at the putative processing site in proIGIF suggests that a protease such as caspase-1 might be involved in the maturation of IGIF. Here we demonstrate that caspase-1 processes proIGIF and proIL-1beta with equivalent efficiencies in vitro. A selective caspase-1 inhibitor blocks both lipopolysaccharide-induced IL-1beta and IFN-gamma production from human mononuclear cells. Furthermore, caspase-1-deficient mice are defective in lipopolysaccharide-induced IFN-gamma production. Our results thus implicate caspase-1 in the physiological production of IGIF and demonstrate that it plays a critical role in the regulation of multiple proinflammatory cytokines. Specific caspase-1 inhibitors would provide a new class of anti-inflammatory drugs with multipotent action.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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