Mutations in cryopyrin and pyrin proteins are responsible for several autoinflammatory disorders in humans, suggesting that these proteins play important roles in regulating inflammation. Using a HEK293 cell-based reconstitution system that stably expresses ASC and procaspase-1 we demonstrated that neither cryopyrin nor pyrin or their corresponding disease-associated mutants could significantly activate NF-kappaB in this system. However, both cryopyrin and two disease-associated cryopyrin mutants induced ASC oligomerization and ASC-dependent caspase-1 activation, with the disease-associated mutants being more potent than the wild-type (WT) cryopyrin, because of increased self-oligomerization. Contrary to the proposed anti-inflammatory activity of WT pyrin, our results demonstrated that pyrin, like cryopyrin, can also assemble an inflammasome complex with ASC and procaspase-1 leading to ASC oligomerization, caspase-1 activation and interleukin-1beta processing. Thus, we propose that pyrin could function as a proinflammatory molecule.