Research ArticleCELL DEATH

Coral gasdermin triggers pyroptosis

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Science Immunology  04 Dec 2020:
Vol. 5, Issue 54, eabd2591
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abd2591

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Corals catch fire

Pyroptosis is a form of inflammatory cell death that occurs in response to pathogen infection and results in the release of intracellular contents mediated by the pore-forming gasdermin family proteins. Jiang et al. identified the presence of a conserved gasdermin E homolog in corals that is cleaved by both coral and human caspase-3 to form two active N-terminal isoforms each capable of inducing pyroptosis. After pathogen infection, caspase-dependent gasdermin E activation was associated with mitochondrial disruption and necrosis in the reef-building coral species Pocillopora damicornis. These results demonstrate that gasdermin-mediated cell death is likely conserved in some invertebrates and may represent an immune defense activated in corals during bacterial infection resulting from environmental stress.

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