Leptospira interrogans are bacteria that can infect all vertebrates and are responsible for leptospirosis, a neglected zoonosis. Some hosts, such as humans, are susceptible to the disease, whereas mice are resistant and get chronically colonized. Although leptospires escape recognition by some immune receptors, they activate the NOD-like receptor pyrin 3–inflammasome and trigger IL-1β secretion. Classically, IL-1β secretion is associated with lytic inflammatory cell death called pyroptosis, resulting from cytosolic LPS binding to inflammatory caspases, such as caspase 11. Interestingly, we showed that L. interrogans and Leptospira biflexa do not trigger cell death in either murine, human, hamster, or bovine macrophages, escaping both pyroptosis and apoptosis. We showed, in murine cells, that the mild IL-1β secretion induced by leptospires occurred through nonlytic caspase 8–dependent gasdermin D pore formation and not through activation of caspase 11/noncanonical inflammasome. Strikingly, we demonstrated a potent antagonistic effect of pathogenic L. interrogans and their atypical LPS on spontaneous and Escherichia coli LPS-induced cell death. Indeed, LPS of L. interrogans efficiently prevents caspase 11 dimerization and subsequent massive gasdermin D cleavage. Finally, we showed that pyroptosis escape by leptospires prevents massive IL-1β release, and we consistently found no major role of IL-1R in controlling experimental leptospirosis in vivo. Overall, to our knowledge, our findings described a novel mechanism by which leptospires dampen inflammation, thus potentially contributing to their stealthiness.

You do not currently have access to this content.