Author(s): Terra JK, Cote CK, France B, Jenkins AL, Bozue JA,
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Abstract Pathogenesis of Bacillus anthracis is associated with the production of lethal toxin (LT), which activates the murine Nalp1b/Nlrp1b inflammasome and induces caspase-1-dependent pyroptotic death in macrophages and dendritic cells. In this study, we investigated the effect of allelic variation of Nlrp1b on the outcome of LT challenge and infection by B. anthracis spores. Nlrp1b allelic variation did not alter the kinetics or pathology of end-stage disease induced by purified LT, suggesting that, in contrast to previous reports, macrophage lysis does not contribute directly to LT-mediated pathology. However, animals expressing a LT-sensitive allele of Nlrp1b showed an early inflammatory response to LT and increased resistance to infection by B. anthracis. Data presented here support a model whereby LT-mediated activation of Nlrp1b and subsequent lysis of macrophages is not a mechanism used by B. anthracis to promote virulence, but rather a protective host-mediated innate immune response.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Bioterrorism & Biodefense