Bacteria of the genus Shigella cause shigellosis, a severe gastrointestinal disease that is a major cause of diarrhea-associated mortality in humans. Mice are highly resistant to Shigella and the lack of a tractable physiological model of shigellosis has impeded our understanding of this important human disease. Here, we propose that the differential susceptibility of mice and humans to Shigella is due to mouse-specific activation of the NAIP–NLRC4 inflammasome. We find that NAIP–NLRC4-deficient mice are highly susceptible to oral Shigella infection and recapitulate the clinical features of human shigellosis. Although inflammasomes are generally thought to promote Shigella pathogenesis, we instead demonstrate that intestinal epithelial cell (IEC)-specific NAIP– NLRC4 activity is sufficient to protect mice from shigellosis. In addition to describing a new mouse model of shigellosis, our results suggest that the lack of an inflammasome response in IECs may help explain the susceptibility of humans to shigellosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)