- Exomic studies have demonstrated that innate immune genes exhibit an even higher degree of variation than the majority of other gene families. However, the phenotypic implications of this genetic variation are not well understood, with effects ranging from hypomorphic to silent to hyperfunctioning. In this work, we study the functional consequences of this variation by investigating polymorphisms in gasdermin D, the key pyroptotic effector protein. We find that, although SNPs affecting potential posttranslational modifications did not affect gasdermin D function or pyroptosis, polymorphisms disrupting sites predicted to be structurally important dramatically alter gasdermin D function.
- Heightened and extended inflammation underlies the pathogenesis of many disorders, including inflammatory bowel disease, sepsis, and inflammatory arthritis. Ubiquitin networks help dictate the strength and duration of inflammatory signaling. In innate immunity, the itchy E3 ubiquitin protein ligase (ITCH)-A20 ubiquitin–editing complex inhibits receptor-interacting Ser/Thr kinase (RIPK) activation by removing Lys-63–linked polyubiquitinated chains from key proteins in the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling pathway.
- Pyroptosis is a form of cell death important in defenses against pathogens that can also result in a potent and sometimes pathological inflammatory response. During pyroptosis, GSDMD (gasdermin D), the pore-forming effector protein, is cleaved, forms oligomers, and inserts into the membranes of the cell, resulting in rapid cell death. However, the potent cell death induction caused by GSDMD has complicated our ability to understand the biology of this protein. Studies aimed at visualizing GSDMD have relied on expression of GSDMD fragments in epithelial cell lines that naturally lack GSDMD expression and also lack the proteases necessary to cleave GSDMD.
- The X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP) protein has been identified as a key genetic driver of two distinct inflammatory disorders, X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome 2 (XLP-2) and very-early-onset inflammatory bowel disease (VEO-IBD). Molecularly, the role of XIAP mutations in the pathogenesis of these disorders is unclear. Recent work has consistently shown XIAP to be critical for signaling downstream of the Crohn's disease susceptibility protein nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain-containing 2 (NOD2); however, the reported effects of XLP-2 and VEO-IBD XIAP mutations on cell death have been inconsistent.