Innate immunity relies on the formation of different inflammasomes to initiate immune responses. The recognition of diverse infection and other danger signals by innate immune receptors trigger caspase-1 activation that induces pyroptosis. Anthrax lethal factor (LF) is a secreted bacterial protease that known to potently activate Nlrp1b inflammasomes in mouse macrophages, but the molecular mechanism underlying LF-induced Nlrp1b activation remains unknown. We here carried out both a mouse genome-wide siRNA screen and a CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screen seeking to identify genes that participate in Nlrp1b activation triggered by LF treatment. We found that the N-end rule pathway E3 ligase UBR2 is required for Nlrp1b activation and a ubiquitin conjugating E2 enzyme E2O is also involved in this process via its physically interaction with UBR2. We show that LF triggers activation of Nlrp1b by initiating the degradation of the N-terminal fragment of Nlrp1b itself that produced via an auto-cleavage process. Our study deepens our understanding of innate immunity defense against bacterial infection by elucidating the functional role of UBR2-mediated N-end rule pathway in LF-induced Nlrp1b activation.
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