Cell Mol Immunol . 2022 Oct;19(10):1141-1152. doi: 10.1038/s41423-022-00917-7. Epub 2022 Sep 1.

USP3 deubiquitinates and stabilizes the adapter protein ASC to regulate inflammasome activation


Free PMC article


Inflammasomes are essential components of the innate immune system and its defense against infections, whereas the dysregulation of inflammasome activation has a detrimental effect on human health. The activation of inflammasomes is subjected to tight regulation to maintain immune homeostasis, yet the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we identify USP3 as a direct deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB) for ASC, the central adapter mediating the assembly and activation of most inflammasomes. USP3 removes the K48-linked ubiquitination on ASC and strengthens its stability by blocking proteasomal degradation. Additionally, USP3 promotes inflammasome activation, and this function was confirmed in mouse models of aluminum (Alum)-induced peritonitis, F. novicida infection and flagellin-induced pneumonia in vivo. Our work unveils that USP3 functions as a key regulator of ASC ubiquitination and maintains the physiological role of ASC in mediating inflammasome activation, and we propose a new mechanism by which the ubiquitination of ASC regulates inflammasome activation.

Keywords: ASC; K48-linked ubiquitination; USP3; inflammasome; proteasomal degradation.