Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2012

Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)

Degree In

Interdisciplinary Studies in Immunology

First Advisor

Sutterwala, Fayyaz

First Committee Member

Wilson, Mary

Second Committee Member

Harty, John


Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome has been shown in response to numerous activators; here we show that the oxazolidinone antibiotic linezolid results in both the NLRP3-dependent in vitro release of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1 Α; and in vivo neutrophilic influx following its intraperitoneal administration. Clinical use of linezolid is commonly limited by hematologic side effects; herein we also show NLRP3-deficiency protected animals against linezolid-induced effects on the bone marrow. Importantly, all previously described activators of the NLRP3 inflammasome have required the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Linezolid is however unique amongst NLRP3 agonists in that its ability to activate the NLRP3 inflammasome in a ROS-independent manner. The pathways for ROS-dependent and ROS-independent NLRP3 activation converge upon mitochondrial dysfunction and specifically the mitochondrial lipid cardiolipin. We demonstrated that interference with cardiolipin synthesis specifically inhibits NLRP3 inflammasome activation. These findings firstly suggests that ROS generation is not the canonical activator of NLRP3 but rather an intermediary step leading to the mitochondrial perturbation that is tied to NLRP3 inflammasome activation and also implicate the involvement of mitochondrial lipid cardiolipin in this process; secondarily, linezolid-induced NLRP3 activation may account for thetoxicity associated with prolonged usage of this antibiotic.


Cardiolipin, Linezolid, Mitochondrial dysfunction, NLRP3 inflammasome


xi, 72 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 61-72).


Copyright 2012 Qiong He