IFN-γ Primes Keratinocytes for HSV-1–Induced Inflammasome Activation

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Abstract

Inflammasomes are immune complexes that induce an inflammatory response upon sensing of different stress signals. This effect is mainly mediated by activation and secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines proIL-1β and -18. Here we report that infection of human primary keratinocytes with the double-stranded DNA viruses modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) or herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1)-induced secretion of mature IL-1β and -18. This secretion was dependent on several inflammasome complexes; however, the absent in melanoma 2 (AIM2) inflammasome, which is activated by binding of double-stranded DNA, played the most important role. Whereas prestimulation of keratinocytes with IFN-γ moderately increased MVA-induced IL-1β and IL-18 secretion, it was essential for substantial secretion of these cytokines in response to herpes simplex virus type 1 infection. IFN-γ partially restored HSV-1 suppressed proIL-1β expression and was also required for inflammasome activation. Most importantly, IFN-γ strongly suppressed virus replication in keratinocytes in vitro and ex vivo, which was independent of inflammasome activation. Our results suggest that, similar to Herpesviridae infection in mice, HSV-1 replication in human skin is controlled by a positive feedback loop of keratinocyte-derived IL-1/IL-18 and IFN-γ expressed by immune cells.

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Strittmatter, G. E., Sand, J., Sauter, M., Seyffert, M., Steigerwald, R., Fraefel, C., … Beer, H. D. (2016). IFN-γ Primes Keratinocytes for HSV-1–Induced Inflammasome Activation. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 136(3), 610–620. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2015.12.022

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