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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Caspase-1 processes IFN-gamma-inducing factor and regulates LPS- induced IFN-gamma production.

Interferon-gamma-inducing factor (IGIF, interleukin-18) is a recently described cytokine that shares structural features with the interleukin-1 (IL-1) family of proteins and functional properties with IL-12. Like IL-12, IGIF is a potent inducer of interferon (IFN)-gamma from T cells and natural killer cells. IGIF is synthesized as a biologically inactive precursor molecule (proIGIF). The cellular production of IL-1beta, a cytokine implicated in a variety of inflammatory diseases, requires cleavage of its precursor (proIL-1beta) at an Asp-X site by interleukin-1beta-converting enzyme (ICE, recently termed caspase-1). The Asp-X sequence at the putative processing site in proIGIF suggests that a protease such as caspase-1 might be involved in the maturation of IGIF. Here we demonstrate that caspase-1 processes proIGIF and proIL-1beta with equivalent efficiencies in vitro. A selective caspase-1 inhibitor blocks both lipopolysaccharide-induced IL-1beta and IFN-gamma production from human mononuclear cells. Furthermore, caspase-1-deficient mice are defective in lipopolysaccharide-induced IFN-gamma production. Our results thus implicate caspase-1 in the physiological production of IGIF and demonstrate that it plays a critical role in the regulation of multiple proinflammatory cytokines. Specific caspase-1 inhibitors would provide a new class of anti-inflammatory drugs with multipotent action.[1]


  1. Caspase-1 processes IFN-gamma-inducing factor and regulates LPS-induced IFN-gamma production. Ghayur, T., Banerjee, S., Hugunin, M., Butler, D., Herzog, L., Carter, A., Quintal, L., Sekut, L., Talanian, R., Paskind, M., Wong, W., Kamen, R., Tracey, D., Allen, H. Nature (1997) [Pubmed]
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