Caspase-11–Dependent Pyroptosis

Sci. Signal.  26 Feb 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 264, pp. ec52
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004092

Inflammasomes are multiprotein complexes that assemble to initiate an immune response to a variety of microorganisms, as well as to sterile tissue injury. Although a role for caspase-1 downstream of inflammasomes is well characterized, the discovery that caspase-1–knockout mice were also deficient in caspase-11 has led to a reassessment of the function of caspase-11. Aachoui et al. (also see the Perspective by Cemma and Brumell) now demonstrate that caspase-11 is required for immunity against cytosolic bacteria in mice. Only bacteria that were able to access cytosol activated caspase-11–dependent pyroptosis, an inflammatory type of cell death. This function of caspase-11 appeared to be independent of canonical inflammasomes.

Y. Aachoui, I. A. Leaf, J. A. Hagar, M. F. Fontana, C. G. Campos, D. E. Zak, M. H. Tan, P. A. Cotter, R. E. Vance, A. Aderem, E. A. Miao, Caspase-11 protects against bacteria that escape the vacuole. Science 339, 975–978) (2013).[Abstract] [Full Text]

M. Cemma, J. H. Brumell, Bacterial escape artists set afire. Science 339, 912–913 (2013). [Summary] [Full Text]