Dual engagement of the NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes by plasmodium-derived hemozoin and DNA during Malaria

Parisa Kalantari, Rosane B. DeOliveira, Jennie Chan, Yolanda Corbett, Vijay Rathinam, Andrea Stutz, Eicke Latz, Ricardo T. Gazzinelli, Douglas T. Golenbock, Katherine A. Fitzgerald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Hemozoin (Hz) is the crystalline detoxification product of hemoglobin in Plasmodium-infected erythrocytes. We previously proposed that Hz can carry plasmodial DNA into a subcellular compartment that is accessible to Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), inducing an inflammatory signal. Hz also activates the NLRP3 inflammasome in primed cells. We found that Hz appears to colocalize with DNA in infected erythrocytes, even before RBC rupture or phagolysosomal digestion. Using synthetic Hz coated invitro with plasmodial genomic DNA (gDNA) or CpG oligodeoxynucleotides, we observed that DNA-complexed Hz induced TLR9 translocation, providing a priming and an activation signal for inflammasomes. After phagocytosis, Hz and DNA dissociate. Hz subsequently induces phagolysosomal destabilization, allowing phagolysosomal contents access to the cytosol, where DNA receptors become activated. Similar observations were made with Plasmodium-infected RBCs. Finally, infected erythrocytes activated both the NLRP3 and AIM2 inflammasomes. These observations suggest that Hz and DNA work together to induce systemic inflammation during malaria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-210
Number of pages15
JournalCell Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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