[Science Translational Medicine] Reduced pannexin 1–IL-33 axis function in donor livers increases risk of MRSA infection in liver transplant recipients
Abstract: Liver transplantation patients are at increased risk for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, but the molecular mechanism remains unclear. We found that genetic predisposition to low pannexin 1 (PANX1) expression in donor livers was associated with MRSA infection in human liver transplantation recipients. Using Panx1 and Il-33-knockout mice for liver transplantation models with MRSA tail vein injection, we demonstrated that Panx1 deficiency increased MRSA-induced liver injury and animal death. We found that decreased PANX1 expression in the liver led to reduced release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from hepatocytes, which further reduced the activation of P2X2, an ATP-activating P2X receptor. Reduced P2X2 function further decreased the NLRP3-mediated release of interleukin-33 (IL-33), reducing hepatic recruitment of macrophages and neutrophils. Administration of mouse IL-33 to Panx1−/− mice significantly (P = 0.011) ameliorated MRSA infection and animal death. Reduced human hepatic IL-33 protein abundance also associated with increased predisposition to MRSA infection. Our findings reveal that genetic predisposition to reduced PANX1 function increases risk for MRSA infection after liver transplantation by decreasing hepatic host innate immune defense, which can be attenuated by IL-33 treatment.