The NOD-like receptors (NLR) are a family of intracellular sensors of microbial motifs and 'danger signals' that have emerged as being crucial components of the innate immune responses and inflammation. Several NLRs (NALPs and IPAF) form a caspase-1-activating multiprotein complex, termed inflammasome, that processes proinflammatory cytokines including IL-1beta. Amongst the various inflammasomes, the NALP3 inflammasome is particularly qualified to sense a plethora of diverse molecules, ranging from bacterial muramyldipeptide to monosodium urate crystals. The important role of the NALP3 inflammasome is emphasized by the identification of mutations in the NALP3 gene that are associated with a susceptibility to inflammatory disorders. These and other issues related to the inflammasome are discussed in this review.