Macrophage migration inhibitory factor is required for NLRP3 inflammasome activation

Tali Lang, Jacinta P.W. Lee, Kirstin Elgass, Anita A. Pinar, Michelle D. Tate, Elizabeth H. Aitken, Huapeng Fan, Sarah J. Creed, Nadia S. Deen, Daouda A.K. Traore, Ivo Mueller, Danielle Stanisic, Francesca S. Baiwog, Colin Skene, Matthew C.J. Wilce, Ashley Mansell, Eric F. Morand, James Harris

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129 Citations (Scopus)


Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) exerts multiple effects on immune cells, as well as having functions outside the immune system. MIF can promote inflammation through the induction of other cytokines, including TNF, IL-6, and IL-1 family cytokines. Here, we show that inhibition of MIF regulates the release of IL-1α, IL-1β, and IL-18, not by affecting transcription or translation of these cytokines, but via activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome. MIF is required for the interaction between NLRP3 and the intermediate filament protein vimentin, which is critical for NLRP3 activation. Further, we demonstrate that MIF interacts with NLRP3, indicating a role for MIF in inflammasome activation independent of its role as a cytokine. These data advance our understanding of how MIF regulates inflammation and identify it as a factor critical for NLRP3 inflammasome activation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2223
Number of pages15
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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