PloS one

MALT1 Protease Activity Is Required for Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses.

PMID 25965667


CARMA-BCL10-MALT1 signalosomes play important roles in antigen receptor signaling and other pathways. Previous studies have suggested that as part of this complex, MALT1 functions as both a scaffolding protein to activate NF-κB through recruitment of ubiquitin ligases, and as a protease to cleave and inactivate downstream inhibitory signaling proteins. However, our understanding of the relative importance of these two distinct MALT1 activities has been hampered by a lack of selective MALT1 protease inhibitors with suitable pharmacologic properties. To fully investigate the role of MALT1 protease activity, we generated mice homozygous for a protease-dead mutation in MALT1. We found that some, but not all, MALT1 functions in immune cells were dependent upon its protease activity. Protease-dead mice had defects in the generation of splenic marginal zone and peritoneal B1 B cells. CD4+ and CD8+ T cells displayed decreased T cell receptor-stimulated proliferation and IL-2 production while B cell receptor-stimulated proliferation was partially dependent on protease activity. In dendritic cells, stimulation of cytokine production through the Dectin-1, Dectin-2, and Mincle C-type lectin receptors was also found to be partially dependent upon protease activity. In vivo, protease-dead mice had reduced basal immunoglobulin levels, and showed defective responses to immunization with T-dependent and T-independent antigens. Surprisingly, despite these decreased responses, MALT1 protease-dead mice, but not MALT1 null mice, developed mixed inflammatory cell infiltrates in multiple organs, suggesting MALT1 protease activity plays a role in immune homeostasis. These findings highlight the importance of MALT1 protease activity in multiple immune cell types, and in integrating immune responses in vivo.