Inflammasome-mediated caspase-1 activation is involved in cell death and the secretion of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Although the dynamics of caspase-1 activation, IL-1β secretion, and cell death have been examined with bulk assays in population-level studies, they remain poorly understood at the single-cell level. In this study, weconducted single-cell imaging using a genetic fluorescence resonance energy transfer sensor that detects caspase-1 activation. We determined that caspase-1 exhibits all-or-none (digital) activation at the single-cell level, with similar activation kinetics irrespective of the type of inflammasome or the intensity of the stimulus. Real-time concurrent detection of caspase-1 activation and IL-1β release demonstrated that dead macrophages containing activated caspase-1 release a local burst of IL-1β ina digital manner, which identified these macrophages as themain source of IL-1β within cell populations. Our results highlight the value of single-cell analysis in enhancing understanding of the inflammasome system and chronic inflammatory diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)