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Nat Rev Immunol. 2011 Mar;11(3):213-20. doi: 10.1038/nri2936.

Emerging inflammasome effector mechanisms.

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Department of Biochemistry, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.


Caspase 1 activation by inflammasome complexes in response to pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) induces the maturation and secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and IL-18. Recent reports have begun to identify additional inflammasome effector mechanisms that proceed independently of IL-1β and IL-18. These include the induction of pyroptotic cell death, the restriction of bacterial replication, the activation of lipid metabolic pathways for cell repair and the secretion of DAMPs and leaderless cytokines. These non-canonical functions of caspase 1 illustrate the diverse mechanisms by which inflammasomes might contribute to innate immunity, repair responses and host defence.

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