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NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome activation triggers caspase-1 activation-induced maturation of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 and therefore is important for the development of the host defense against various RNA viral diseases. However, the implication of this protein complex in human metapneumovirus (HMPV) disease has not been fully studied. Herein, we report that NLRP3 inflammasome plays a detrimental role during HMPV infection because NLRP3 inflammasome inhibition protected mice from mortality and reduced weight loss and inflammation without impacting viral replication. We also demonstrate that NLRP3 inflammasome exerts its deleterious effect via IL-1β production since we observed reduced mortality, weight loss and inflammation in IL-1β-deficient (IL-1β-/-) mice, as compared to wild-type animals during HMPV infection. Moreover, the effect on these evaluated parameters was not different in IL-1β-/- and wild-type mice treated with an NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitor. The production of IL-1β was also abrogated in bone marrow derived macrophages deficient for NLRP3. Finally, we show that small hydrophobic protein-deleted recombinant HMPV (HMPV ΔSH) failed to activate caspase-1, which is responsible for IL-1β cleavage and maturation. Furthermore, HMPV ΔSH-infected mice had less weight loss, showed no mortality and reduced inflammation, as compared to wild-type HMPV-infected mice. Thus, NLRP3 inflammasome activation seems to be triggered by HMPV SH protein in HMPV disease. In summary, once activated by the HMPV SH protein, NLRP3 inflammasome promotes the maturation of IL-1β, which exacerbates HMPV-induced inflammation. Therefore, the blockade of IL-1β production by using NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors might be a novel potential strategy for the therapy and prevention of HMPV infection.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: PLoS pathogens
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