Publication of IMPRS-LS student Stefan Bauernfried

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Bauernfried, S., Scherr, M.J., Pichlmair, A., Duderstadt, K.E., and Hornung, V.
(IMPRS-LS students are in bold)
Science, 2020, Online ahead of print.
doi: 10.1126/science.abd0811

Human NLRP1 is a sensor for double-stranded RNA

Inflammasomes function as intracellular sensors of pathogen infection or cellular perturbation and thereby play a central role in numerous diseases. Given the high abundance of NLRP1 in epithelial barrier tissues, we screened a diverse panel of viruses for inflammasome activation in keratinocytes. We identified Semliki Forest virus (SFV), a positive-strand RNA virus, as a potent activator of human, but not murine NLRP1. SFV replication and the associated formation of double-stranded (ds) RNA was required to engage the NLRP1 inflammasome. Moreover, delivery of long dsRNA was sufficient to trigger activation. Biochemical studies revealed that NLRP1 binds dsRNA via its LRR, resulting in its NACHT domain gaining ATPase activity. Altogether, these results establish human NLRP1 as a direct sensor for dsRNA and thus RNA virus infection.