Pathogen infection and cholesterol deficiency activate the C. elegans p38 immune pathway through a TIR-1/SARM1 phase transition
AuthorsPeterson, Nicholas D.
Icso, Janneke D.
Salisbury, J. Elizabeth
Thompson, Paul R
UMass Chan AffiliationsThompson Lab
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
RNA Therapeutics Institute
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology
Program in Chemical Biology
Program in Innate Immunity, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Department of Medicine
Document TypeJournal Article
intestinal epithelial immunity
Enzymes and Coenzymes
Immunology and Infectious Disease
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractIntracellular signaling regulators can be concentrated into membrane-free, higher ordered protein assemblies to initiate protective responses during stress - a process known as phase transition. Here, we show that a phase transition of the Caenorhabditis elegans Toll/interleukin-1 receptor domain protein (TIR-1), an NAD(+) glycohydrolase homologous to mammalian sterile alpha and TIR motif-containing 1 (SARM1), underlies p38 PMK-1 immune pathway activation in C. elegans intestinal epithelial cells. Through visualization of fluorescently labeled TIR-1/SARM1 protein, we demonstrate that physiologic stresses, both pathogen and non-pathogen, induce multimerization of TIR-1/SARM1 into visible puncta within intestinal epithelial cells. In vitro enzyme kinetic analyses revealed that, like mammalian SARM1, the NAD(+) glycohydrolase activity of C. elegans TIR-1 is dramatically potentiated by protein oligomerization and a phase transition. Accordingly, C. elegans with genetic mutations that specifically block either multimerization or the NAD(+) glycohydrolase activity of TIR-1/SARM1 fail to induce p38 PMK phosphorylation, are unable to increase immune effector expression, and are dramatically susceptible to bacterial infection. Finally, we demonstrate that a loss-of-function mutation in nhr-8, which alters cholesterol metabolism and is used to study conditions of sterol deficiency, causes TIR-1/SARM1 to oligomerize into puncta in intestinal epithelial cells. Cholesterol scarcity increases p38 PMK-1 phosphorylation, primes immune effector induction in a manner that requires TIR-1/SARM1 oligomerization and its intrinsic NAD(+) glycohydrolase activity, and reduces pathogen accumulation in the intestine during a subsequent infection. These data reveal a new adaptive response that allows a metazoan host to anticipate pathogen threats during cholesterol deprivation, a time of relative susceptibility to infection. Thus, a phase transition of TIR-1/SARM1 as a prerequisite for its NAD(+) glycohydrolase activity is strongly conserved across millions of years of evolution and is essential for diverse physiological processes in multiple cell types.
Peterson ND, Icso JD, Salisbury JE, Rodríguez T, Thompson PR, Pukkila-Worley R. Pathogen infection and cholesterol deficiency activate the C. elegans p38 immune pathway through a TIR-1/SARM1 phase transition. Elife. 2022 Jan 31;11:e74206. doi: 10.7554/eLife.74206. PMID: 35098926; PMCID: PMC8923663. Link to article on publisher's site