Pharmacological targeting of NLRP3 deubiquitination for treatment of NLRP3-associated inflammatory diseases

ABSTRACT: Pharmacologically inhibiting nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat-containing (NLR) family, pyrin domain–containing protein 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome activation results in potent therapeutic effects in a wide variety of preclinical inflammatory disease models. NLRP3 deubiquitination is essential for efficient NLRP3 inflammasome activity, but it remains unclear whether this process can be harnessed for therapeutic benefit. Here, we show that thiolutin (THL), an inhibitor of the JAB1/MPN/Mov34 (JAMM) domain–containing metalloprotease, blocks NLRP3 inflammasome activation by canonical, noncanonical, alternative, and transcription-independent pathways at nanomolar concentrations. In addition, THL potently inhibited the activation of multiple NLRP3 mutants linked with cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS). Treatment with THL alleviated NLRP3-related diseases in mouse models of lipopolysaccharide-induced sepsis, monosodium urate–induced peritonitis, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, CAPS, and methionine-choline–deficient diet-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Mechanistic studies revealed that THL inhibits the BRCC3-containing isopeptidase complex (BRISC)–mediated NLRP3 deubiquitination and activation. In addition, we show that holomycin, a natural methyl derivative of THL, displays an even higher inhibitory activity against NLRP3 inflammasome than THL. Our study validates that posttranslational modification of NLRP3 can be pharmacologically targeted to prevent or treat NLRP3-associated inflammatory diseases. Future clinical development of derivatives of THL may provide new therapies for NLRP3-related diseases.

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