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Nat Rev Immunol. 2008 May;8(5):372-9. doi: 10.1038/nri2296.

NLRs at the intersection of cell death and immunity.

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Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7295, USA.


Inflammation is a crucial element of the host response to cellular insult. Pathogen-induced inflammation includes a molecular pathway which proceeds through activation of the protease caspase-1 to the release of the inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 (IL-1) and IL-18. Importantly, pathogens may also induce forms of cell death that have inherently pro-inflammatory features. Here, we review recent evidence demonstrating that NLR (nucleotide-binding domain, leucine-rich repeat containing) family proteins serve as a common component of both caspase-1-activated apoptotic pathways and caspase-independent necrotic pathways. Parallels are drawn between NLR protein function and the activity of structurally similar proteins involved in cell death: the apoptotic mediator APAF1 (apoptotic-protease-activating factor 1) and the plant disease resistance NBS-LRR (nucleotide-binding site leucine-rich repeats) proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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