NLRC4 suppresses melanoma tumor progression independently of inflammasome activation

Ann M. Janowski, Oscar R. Colegio, Emma E. Hornick, Jennifer M. McNiff, Matthew D. Martin, Vladimir P. Badovinac, Lyse A. Norian, Weizhou Zhang, Suzanne L. Cassel, Fayyaz S. Sutterwala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Members of the NLR family can assemble inflammasome complexes with the adaptor protein ASC and caspase-1 that result in the activation of caspase-1 and the release of IL-1β and IL-18. Although the NLRC4 inflammasome is known to have a protective role in tumorigenesis, there is an increased appreciation for the inflammasome-independent actions of NLRC4. Here, we utilized a syngeneic subcutaneous murine model of B16F10 melanoma to explore the role of NLRC4 in tumor suppression. We found that NLRC4-deficient mice exhibited enhanced tumor growth that was independent of the inflammasome components ASC and caspase-1. Nlrc4 expression was critical for cytokine and chemokine production in tumor-associated macrophages and was necessary for the generation of protective IFN-γ-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Tumor progression was diminished when WT or caspase-1-deficient, but not NLRC4-deficient, macrophages were coinjected with B16F10 tumor cells in NLRC4-deficient mice. Finally, examination of human primary melanomas revealed the extensive presence of NLRC4+ tumor-associated macrophages. In contrast, there was a paucity of NLRC4+ tumor-associated macrophages observed in human metastatic melanoma, supporting the concept that NLRC4 expression controls tumor growth. These results reveal a critical role for NLRC4 in suppressing tumor growth in an inflammasome-independent manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3917-3928
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 3 2016
Externally publishedYes


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