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Curr Opin Immunol. 2015 Feb;32:84-9. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2015.01.010. Epub 2015 Jan 24.

The NAIP/NLRC4 inflammasomes.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, United States; Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, United States; Cancer Research Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, United States. Electronic address:


Inflammasomes comprise a family of cytosolic multi-protein complexes that sense infection, or other threats, and initiate inflammation via the recruitment and activation of the Caspase-1 protease. Although the precise molecular mechanism by which most inflammasomes are activated remains a subject of considerable debate, the NAIP/NLRC4 subfamily of inflammasomes is increasingly well understood. A crystal structure of NLRC4 was recently reported, and a domain in NAIPs that recognizes bacterial ligands was identified. In addition, gain-of-function mutations in NLRC4 have been shown to cause an auto-inflammatory syndrome in humans. Lastly, the NAIP/NLRC4 inflammasome has been shown to provide a novel form of cell intrinsic defense against Salmonella infection, involving expulsion of infected cells from the intestinal epithelium.

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