Author(s): Lthi AU, Cullen SP, McNeela EA, Duriez PJ, Afonina IS,
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Abstract Interleukin-33 (IL-33) is a member of the IL-1 family and is involved in polarization of T cells toward a T helper 2 (Th2) cell phenotype. IL-33 is thought to be activated via caspase-1-dependent proteolysis, similar to the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1 beta and IL-18, but this remains unproven. Here we showed that IL-33 was processed by caspases activated during apoptosis (caspase-3 and -7) but was not a physiological substrate for caspases associated with inflammation (caspase-1, -4, and -5). Furthermore, caspase-dependent processing of IL-33 was not required for ST2 receptor binding or ST2-dependent activation of the NF-kappaB transcription factor. Indeed, caspase-dependent proteolysis of IL-33 dramatically attenuated IL-33 bioactivity in vitro and in vivo. These data suggest that IL-33 does not require proteolysis for activation, but rather, that IL-33 bioactivity is diminished through caspase-dependent proteolysis within apoptotic cells. Thus, caspase-mediated proteolysis acts as a switch to dampen the proinflammatory properties of IL-33.
This article was published in Immunity
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research