Seminars in Immunopathology

, 29:213 | Cite as

NALP Inflammasomes: a central role in innate immunity

  • Fabio Martinon
  • Olivier Gaide
  • Virgine Pétrilli
  • Annick Mayor
  • Jürg Tschopp


Inflammasomes are cytoplasmic multiprotein complexes that mediate the maturation of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-18, and possibly IL-33 by controlling the activation of the inflammatory caspases-1 and -5. Assembly of inflammasomes depends on NOD-like receptor (NLR) family members such as NALPs, NAIP, and IPAF. Various microbial and endogenous stimuli activate different types of inflammasomes. This article focuses on the Pyrin domain containing NLRs, known as NALP proteins. Recent findings provide exciting insights into how these proteins might be activated and also provide evidence of the critical role of the NALP inflammasomes in innate immunity and inflammatory diseases.


Inflammasome NLRs Interleukin-1β Innate immunity Autoinflammation 



Apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD


Caspase recruitment domain




interleukin-1β -converting enzyme




ICE protease-activating factor


leucine rich repeat


Muramyl dipeptide


Monosodium urate crystals


Myeloid differentiation protein 88


NACHT, LRR and PYD containing proteins


Domain present NAIP, the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II transactivator (CIITA), HET-E and TP1


Neuronal apoptosis inhibitory protein


nucleotide-binding adaptor shared by APAF-1, R gene products and CED-4


nucleotide binding site-leucine-rich repeat


NOD-like receptors


Pathogen-associated molecular patterns


Pyrin domain







We thank the members of the Tschopp laboratory and Michael McDermott for discussions and critical reading of the manuscript. This work was supported by grants of the Swiss National Science Foundation (JT). FM is supported by a long-term fellowship from the Human Frontier Sciences Program. VP is supported by the EIF Marie Curie Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Martinon
    • 1
  • Olivier Gaide
    • 2
  • Virgine Pétrilli
    • 3
  • Annick Mayor
    • 3
  • Jürg Tschopp
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Immunology and Infectious DiseasesHarvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Dermatology and Patholog-ImmunologyGeneva University Medical CenterGenevaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Lausanne, BIL Biomedical Research CenterEpalingesSwitzerland

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