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Curr Opin Immunol. 2009 Feb;21(1):10-6. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2009.01.006. Epub 2009 Feb 14.

Sensing pathogens and danger signals by the inflammasome.

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  • 1Institute for Integrative Genome Biology and Department of Entomology, University of California-Riverside, 92521, USA.


The NLR (nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat containing) family of intracellular sensors is a crucial component of the innate immune system. A number of NLR family members can form multiprotein complexes, called inflammasomes, and are capable of activating the cysteine protease caspase-1 in response to a wide range of stimuli including both microbial and self-molecules. Caspase-1 activation leads to processing and secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) and IL-18, which play crucial roles in host defense to infectious insults. Dysregulation of the inflammasome has also been linked to a number of autoinflammatory and autoimmune disorders. Recent advances in the inflammasome field will be discussed in this review.

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