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Small heterodimer partner interacts with NLRP3 and negatively regulates activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome.
Excessive activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome results in damaging inflammation, yet the regulators of this process remain poorly defined. Herein, we show that the orphan nuclear receptor small heterodimer partner (SHP) is a negative regulator of NLRP3 inflammasome activation. NLRP3 inflammasome activation leads to an interaction between SHP and NLRP3, proteins that are both recruited to mitochondria. Overexpression of SHP competitively inhibits binding of NLRP3 to apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC). SHP deficiency results in increased secretion of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, and excessive pathologic responses typically observed in mouse models of kidney tubular necrosis and peritoneal gout. Notably, the loss of SHP results in accumulation of damaged mitochondria and a sustained interaction between NLRP3 and ASC in the endoplasmic reticulum. These data are suggestive of a role for SHP in controlling NLRP3 inflammasome activation through a mechanism involving interaction with NLRP3 and maintenance of mitochondrial homeostasis.