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Cell. 2014 May 22;157(5):1013-22. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.04.007.

Mechanisms and functions of inflammasomes.

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Department of Medical Protein Research, VIB, Ghent 9000, Belgium; Department of Biochemistry, Ghent University, Ghent 9000, Belgium. Electronic address:
Department of Physiological Chemistry, Genentech, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA. Electronic address:


Recent studies have offered a glimpse into the sophisticated mechanisms by which inflammasomes respond to danger and promote secretion of interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18. Activation of caspases 1 and 11 in canonical and noncanonical inflammasomes, respectively, also protects against infection by triggering pyroptosis, a proinflammatory and lytic mode of cell death. The therapeutic potential of inhibiting these proinflammatory caspases in infectious and autoimmune diseases is raised by the successful deployment of anti-IL-1 therapies to control autoinflammatory diseases associated with aberrant inflammasome signaling. This Review summarizes recent insights into inflammasome biology and discusses the questions that remain in the field.

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