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Immunol Rev. 2011 Sep;243(1):119-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2011.01050.x.

Intracellular sensing of microbes and danger signals by the inflammasomes.

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Biomedical Center, Institute of Innate Immunity, University Hospitals, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany.


The cells of the innate immune system mobilize a coordinated immune response towards invading microbes and after disturbances in tissue homeostasis. These immune responses typically lead to infection control and tissue repair. Exaggerated or uncontrolled immune responses, however, can also induce acute of chronic inflammatory pathologies that are characteristic for many common diseases such as sepsis, arthritis, atherosclerosis, or Alzheimer's disease. In recent years, the concerted efforts of many scientists have uncovered numerous mechanisms by which immune cells detect foreign or changed self-substances that appear in infections or during tissue damage. These substances stimulate signaling receptors, which leads to cellular activation and the induction of effector mechanisms. Here, we review the role of inflammasomes, a family of signaling molecules that form multi-molecular signaling platforms and activate inflammatory caspases and interleukin-1β cytokines.

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