MARK4 regulates NLRP3 positioning and inflammasome activation through a microtubule-dependent mechanism

14 Aug 2017

Excessive activation of the NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome is involved in many chronic inflammatory diseases, including cardiovascular and Alzheimer's disease. Here we show that microtubule-affinity regulating kinase 4 (MARK4) binds to NLRP3 and drives it to the microtubule-organizing centre, enabling the formation of one large inflammasome speck complex within a single cell. MARK4 knockdown or knockout, or disruption of MARK4-NLRP3 interaction, impairs NLRP3 spatial arrangement and limits inflammasome activation. Our results demonstrate how an evolutionarily conserved protein involved in the regulation of microtubule dynamics orchestrates NLRP3 inflammasome activation by controlling its transport to optimal activation sites, and identify a targetable function for MARK4 in the control of innate immunity.