The inflammasome: a caspase-1-activation platform that regulates immune responses and disease pathogenesis.
- PubMed: 19221555
The inflammasome is a multiprotein complex that mediates the activation of caspase-1, which promotes secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin 1beta (IL-1beta) and IL-18, as well as 'pyroptosis', a form of cell death induced by bacterial pathogens. Members of the Nod-like receptor family, including NLRP1, NLRP3 and NLRC4, and the adaptor ASC are critical components of the inflammasome that link microbial and endogenous 'danger' signals to caspase-1 activation. Several diseases are associated with dysregulated activation of caspase-1 and secretion of IL-1beta. Thus, understanding inflammasome pathways may provide insight into disease pathogenesis that might identify potential targets for therapeutic intervention.