The pyrin domain: a possible member of the death domain-fold family implicated in apoptosis and inflammation.
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ABSTRACT: Francisella tularensis is an intracellular pathogen that can cause severe disease in a wide range of mammalian hosts. Primarily residing in host macrophages, F. tularensis escapes phagosomal degradation, and replicates in the macrophage cytosol. The macrophage uses a series of pattern recognition receptors to detect conserved microbial molecules from invading pathogens, and initiates an appropriate host response. In the cytosol, F. tularensis is recognized by the inflammasome, a multiprotein complex responsible for the activation of the cysteine protease caspase-1. Caspase-1 activation leads to processing and release of proinflammatory cytokines and host cell death. Here we review recent work on the molecular mechanisms of inflammasome activation by F. tularensis, and its consequences both in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we discuss the coordination between the inflammasome and other cytosolic host responses, and the evidence for F. tularensis virulence factors that suppress inflammasome activation.Frontiers in Microbiology 02/2011; 2:16. DOI:10.3389/fmicb.2011.00016 · 3.94 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Ifi-200/HIN-200 gene family encodes highly homologous human (IFI16, myeloid cell nuclear differentiation antigen, absent in melanoma 2, and IFIX) and murine proteins (Ifi202a, Ifi202b, Ifi203, Ifi204, Ifi205, and Ifi206), which are induced by type I and II interferons (IFN). These proteins have been described as regulators of cell proliferation and differentiation and, more recently, several reports have suggested their involvement in both apoptotic and inflammatory processes. The relevance of HIN-200 proteins in human disease is beginning to be clarified, and emerging experimental data indicate their role in autoimmunity. Autoimmune disorders are sustained by perpetual activation of inflammatory process and a link between autoimmunity and apoptosis has been clearly established. Moreover, the interferon system is now considered as a key player in autoimmune disorders such as systemic lupus erythemathosus, systemic sclerosis, and Sjögren's syndrome, and it is therefore conceivable to hypothesize that HIN-200 may be among the pivotal mediators of IFN activity in autoimmune disease. In particular, the participation of HIN-200 proteins in apoptosis and inflammation could support their potential role in autoimmunity.Autoimmunity 02/2010; 43(3):226-31. DOI:10.3109/08916930903510922 · 2.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: High activity of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt pathway in cumulus cells plays an important role in FSH regulation of cell function and Protein Kinase C epsilon (PKCepsilon) collaborates with these signalling pathways to regulate cell proliferation. Relevant roles in follicular development are played by Maternal Antigen That Embryos Require (MATER) that is a cumulus cell- and oocyte-specific protein dependent on the maternal genome. We recently demonstrated that human MATER localizes at specific domains of oocytes and, for the first time, also in cumulus cells. MATER contains a carboxy-terminal leucine-rich repeat domain involved in protein-protein interactions regulating different cellular functions. Here we investigated the functional role of MATER. Thus, we performed coimmunoprecipitation experiments using HEK293T cells expressing human MATER; a similar approach was then followed in human cumulus/follicular cells. In MATER(+)HEK293T cells, we observed that this protein acts as a phosphorylation substrate of PKCepsilon. Western blot experiments indicate that, unlike oocytes, human cumulus cells express PKCepsilon. Immunoprecipitation and confocal analysis suggest for the first time that MATER protein interacts with this protein kinase in cumulus cells under physiological conditions. Since PKCepsilon is known to collaborate with antiapoptotic signalling pathways, this suggests a novel mechanism for the function of MATER in follicular maturation.Molecular Human Reproduction 07/2009; 15(8):499-506. DOI:10.1093/molehr/gap048 · 3.48 Impact Factor