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ABSTRACTThe bacterial pathogenPseudomonas aeruginosacauses acute infections associated with significant morbidity and mortality.P. aeruginosaelicits strong innate immune responses in immunocompetent hosts, and the resulting recruitment of neutrophils to the site of infection is necessary for bacterial clearance.P. aeruginosalipopolysaccharide and flagellin are recognized by extracellular Toll-like receptors, but the most rapid responses to infection occur when cytosolic receptors sense flagellin or type 3 secretion system (T3SS) structural proteins. The subsequent activation of the NLRC4 inflammasome and caspase-1 generates an interleukin-1β (IL-1β) signal that is required for the rapid neutrophilic response. A T3SS effector, exotoxin U (ExoU), can inhibit activation of the NLRC4 inflammasome and caspase-1. Thus, our observation that IL-1 receptor (IL-1R)-mediated signals were still required to initiate a response to ExoU-producing bacteria was unexpected. As both IL-1α and IL-1β signal via the IL-1R, we examined immune responses in mice lacking either of these cytokines. IL-1β-deficient mice responded to ExoU-producingP. aeruginosabacteria similarly to wild-type animals; however, IL-1α-deficient mice had an attenuated immune response. The situation was reversed following infections by ExoU-negative bacteria: here, IL-1α was dispensable for neutrophil recruitment, while IL-1β was required. IL-1α secretion by macrophages infected with ExoU-producingP. aeruginosaisolates was independent of both caspase-1 and caspase-11. This study documents distinct roles for IL-1α and IL-1β in the response toP. aeruginosainfection as a function of the T3SS effectors produced by the infecting strain. The redundancy of these two cytokines nonetheless allows the infected host to mount a response to ExoU-positive and -negative bacterial isolates.

Original publication




Journal article


Infection and Immunity


American Society for Microbiology

Publication Date





4204 - 4211