Inflammasomes and host defenses against bacterial infections

Student Author(s)

Gregory Vladimer; Dan Weng

Academic Program

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Immunology and Infectious Disease


The inflammasome has emerged as an important molecular protein complex which initiates proteolytic processing of pro-IL-1β and pro-IL-18 into mature inflammatory cytokines. In addition, inflammasomes initiate pyroptotic cell death that may be independent of those cytokines. Inflammasomes are central to elicit innate immune responses against many pathogens, and are key components in the induction of host defenses following bacterial infection. Here, we review recent discoveries related to NLRP1, NLRP3, NLRC4, NLRP6, NLRP7, NLRP12 and AIM2-mediated recognition of bacteria. Mechanisms for inflammasome activation and regulation are now suggested to involve kinases such as PKR and PKCδ, ligand binding proteins such as the NAIPs, and caspase-11 and caspase-8 in addition to caspase-1. Future research will determine how specific inflammasome components pair up in optimal responses to specific bacteria.

DOI of Published Version



Curr Opin Microbiol. 2013 Jan 11. doi: 10.1016/j.mib.2012.11.008.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Current opinion in microbiology

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID