Published on Sun Sep 12 2021

Full-length NLRP3 forms oligomeric cages to mediate NLRP3 sensing and activation

Andreeva, L., David, L., Rawson, S., Shen, C., Pasricha, T., Pelegrin, P., Wu, H.

NLRP3 is emerging to be a critical intracellular inflammasome sensor of membrane integrity. It is a 12-16 mer double ring cage held together by LRR-LRR interactions with the pyrin domains shielded within the assembly to avoid premature activation.

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Abstract

The nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich-repeat (LRR) containing protein 3 with a pyrin domain (NLRP3) is emerging to be a critical intracellular inflammasome sensor of membrane integrity and a highly important clinical target against chronic inflammation. Here we report that the endogenous, stimulus-responsive form of full-length NLRP3 is a 12-16 mer double ring cage held together by LRR-LRR interactions with the pyrin domains shielded within the assembly to avoid premature activation. Surprisingly, this NLRP3 form is predominantly membrane localized, which is consistent with previously noted localization of NLRP3 at various membrane organelles. Structure-guided mutagenesis reveals that trans-Golgi network dispersion into vesicles, an early event observed for all NLRP3 activating stimuli, requires the double ring cages of NLRP3. Double ring-defective NLRP3 mutants further abolish inflammasome punctum formation, caspase-1 processing and cell death. Thus, unlike other inflammasome sensors that are monomeric when inactive, our data uncover a unique NLRP3 oligomer on membrane that is poised to sense diverse signals to induce inflammasome activation.