NF-kappaB activation by the Toll-IL-1 receptor domain protein MyD88 adapter-like is regulated by caspase-1
Toll-like receptors (TLRs)-2 and -4 are important proteins in innate immunity, recognizing microbial products and eliciting host defense responses. Both use the adapter proteins MyD88 and MyD88 adapter-like (Mal) to activate signaling pathways. Here we report that Mal but not MyD88 interacts with caspase-1, the enzyme that processes the precursors of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1beta and IL-18. The interaction was found in a yeast two-hybrid screen and was confirmed by reciprocal GST pull-downs and coimmunoprecipitation of endogenous proteins. We were unable to implicate Mal in regulating caspase-1 activation. However, we found that Mal was cleaved by caspase-1 and that inhibition of caspase-1 activity blocked TLR2- and TLR4-mediated NF-kappaB and p38 MAP kinase activation but not IL-1 or TLR7 signaling, which are Mal independent. These responses, and the induction of TNF, were also attenuated in caspase-1-deficient cells. Finally, unlike wild-type Mal, a mutant Mal, which was not cleaved by caspase-1, was unable to signal and acted as a dominant negative inhibitor of TLR2 and TLR4 signaling. Our study therefore reveals a role for caspase-1 in the regulation of TLR2 and TLR4 signaling pathways via an effect on Mal. This functional interaction reveals an important aspect of the coordination between TLRs and caspase-1 during the innate response to pathogens.