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Inflammasomes are cytoplasmic, multiprotein complexes that consist of a sensor molecule, the adaptor protein ASC, and the downstream protease pro-caspase-1. In response to microbial infection, environmental stimuli, or endogenous “danger signals,” several innate immune receptors, known as pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), can act as sensor molecules to initiate inflammasome assembly. Inflammasome assembly and activation lead to the autocatalytic cleavage of pro-caspase-1 into activated caspase-1. The activation of caspase-1 not only initiates the maturation and release of interleukins 1β (IL-1β) and IL-18 but also induces inflammatory cell death, termed “pyroptosis.”
Role of Inflammasomes in Infection and Diseases
The most well-described innate immune receptors initiating inflammasome assembly are NLRP1 (NLR family pyrin domain-containing 1), NLRP3, NLRP9b, NLRC4 (NLR family CARD domain-containing protein 4), IFI16 (interferon gamma-inducible protein 16), AIM2 (absent in...