Co-regulation of NF-κB and inflammasome-mediated inflammatory responses by myxoma virus pyrin domain-containing protein M013

Masmudur M. Rahman, Mohamed R. Mohamed, Manbok Kim, Sherin Smallwood, Grant McFadden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


NF-κB and inflammasomes both play central roles in orchestrating anti-pathogen responses by rapidly inducing a variety of early-response cytokines and chemokines following infection. Myxoma virus (MYXV), a pathogenic poxvirus of rabbits, encodes a member of the cellular pyrin domain (PYD) superfamily, called M013. The viral M013 protein was previously shown to bind host ASC-1 protein and inhibit the cellular inflammasome complex that regulates the activation and secretion of caspase 1-regulated cytokines such as IL-1β and IL-18. Here, we report that human THP-1 monocytic cells infected with a MYXV construct deleted for the M013L gene (vMyxM013-KO), in stark contrast to the parental MYXV, rapidly induce high levels of secreted pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF, IL-6, and MCP-1, all of which are regulated by NF-κB. The induction of these NF-κB regulated cytokines following infection with vMyxM013-KO was also confirmed in vivo using THP-1 derived xenografts in NOD-SCID mice. vMyxM013-KO virus infection specifically induced the rapid phosphorylation of IKK and degradation of IκBα, which was followed by nuclear translocation of NF-κB/p65. Even in the absence of virus infection, transiently expressed M013 protein alone inhibited cellular NF-κB-mediated reporter gene expression and nuclear translocation of NF-κB/p65. Using protein/protein interaction analysis, we show that M013 protein also binds directly with cellular NF-κB1, suggesting a direct physical and functional linkage between NF-kB1 and ASC-1. We further demonstrate that inhibition of the inflammasome with a caspase-1 inhibitor did not prevent the induction of NF-kB regulated cytokines following infection with vMyxM013-KO virus, but did block the activation of IL-1β. Thus, the poxviral M013 inhibitor exerts a dual immuno-subversive role in the simultaneous co-regulation of both the cellular inflammasome complex and NF-κB-mediated pro-inflammatory responses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1000635
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Virology


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