NOD-like receptor 12 (NLRP12) is a member of the nucleotide-binding domain and leucine-rich repeat containing receptor inflammasome family that plays a central role in innate immunity. We previously showed that DNA damage upregulated NLRP12 in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) of mice deficient in the DNA repair gene Fanca. However, the role of NLRP12 in HSC maintenance is not known. Here, we show that persistent DNA damage–induced NLRP12 improves HSC function in both mouse and human models of DNA repair deficiency and aging. Specifically, treatment of Fanca–/– mice with the DNA cross-linker mitomycin C or ionizing radiation induces NLRP12 upregulation in phenotypic HSCs. NLRP12 expression is specifically induced by persistent DNA damage. Functionally, knockdown of NLRP12 exacerbates the repopulation defect of Fanca–/– HSCs. Persistent DNA damage–induced NLRP12 was also observed in the HSCs from aged mice, and depletion of NLRP12 in these aged HSCs compromised their self-renewal and hematopoietic recovery. Consistently, overexpression of NLRP12 substantially improved the long-term repopulating function of Fanca–/– and aged HSCs. Finally, persistent DNA damage–induced NLRP12 maintains the function of HSCs from patients with FA or aged donors. These results reveal a potentially novel role of NLRP12 in HSC maintenance and suggest that NLRP12 targeting has therapeutic potential in DNA repair disorders and aging.
Qiqi Lin, Limei Wu, Zhilin Ma, Fabliha Ahmed Chowdhury,1, Habibul Hasan Mazumder, Wei Du