Proapoptotic chemotherapeutic drugs induce noncanonical processing and release of IL-1β via caspase-8 in dendritic cells

Christina Antonopoulos, Caroline El Sanadi, William J. Kaiser, Edward S. Mocarski, George R. Dubyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The identification of noncanonical (caspase-1-independent) pathways for IL-1β production has unveiled an intricate interplay between inflammatory and death-inducing signaling platforms. We found a heretofore unappreciated role for caspase-8 as a major pathway for IL-1β processing and release in murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (BMDC) costimulated with TLR4 agonists and proapoptotic chemotherapeutic agents such as doxorubicin (Dox) or staurosporine (STS). The ability of Dox to stimulate release of mature (17-kDa) IL-1β was nearly equivalent in wild-type (WT) BMDC, Casp1 -/-Casp11-/- BMDC, WT BMDC treated with the caspase-1 inhibitor YVAD, and BMDC lacking the inflammasome regulators ASC, NLRP3, or NLRC4. Notably, Dox-induced production of mature IL-1β was temporally correlated with caspase-8 activation in WT cells and greatly suppressed in Casp8-/-Rip3-/- or Trif-/- BMDC, as well as in WT BMDC treated with the caspase-8 inhibitor, IETD. Similarly, STS stimulated robust IL-1β processing and release in Casp1-/-Casp11 -/- BMDC that was IETD sensitive. These data suggest that TLR4 induces assembly of caspase-8-based signaling complexes that become licensed as IL-1β-converting enzymes in response to Dox and STS. The responses were temporally correlated with downregulation of cellular inhibitor of apoptosis protein 1, suggesting suppressive roles for this and likely other inhibitor of apoptosis proteins on the stability and/or proteolytic activity of the caspase-8 platforms. Thus, proapoptotic chemotherapeutic agents stimulate the caspase-8-mediated processing and release of IL-1β, implicating direct effects of such drugs on a noncanonical inflammatory cascade that may modulate immune responses in tumor microenvironments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4789-4803
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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