Inflammasomes are cytosolic multimolecular protein complexes that stimulate the activation of caspase-1 and the release of mature forms of interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-18. We previously demonstrated that the influenza A virus M2 protein stimulates IL-1β secretion following activation of the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptor family pyrin domain- containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome. The nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) of influenza virus inhibits caspase-1 activation and IL-1β secretion. However, the precise mechanism by which NS1 inhibits IL-1β secretion remains unknown. Here, we showed that J774A.1 macrophages stably expressing the NS1 protein inhibited IL-1β secretion after infection with recombinant influenza virus lacking the NS1 gene. Coimmunoprecipitation assay revealed that the NS1 protein interacts with NLRP3. Importantly, the NS1 protein inhibited the NLRP3/ASC-induced single-speck formation required for full activation of inflammasomes. The NS1 protein of other influenza virus strains, including a recent pandemic strain, also inhibited inflammasome-mediated IL-1β secretion. The NS1 RNA-binding domain (basic residues 38 and 41) and TRIM25-binding domain (acidic residues 96 and 97) were required for suppression of NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated IL-1β secretion. These results shed light on a mechanism by which the NS1 protein of influenza virus suppresses NLRP3 inflammasome-mediated IL-1β secretion.
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